Skip to main content

Full text of "The Princess Royal"

See other formats




Katharine Wylde^ 

Aiithor of 
Mr. Bryaiifs Mistake^'' etc. 

In Three Volumes. 
Vol. II. 




(All rights reserved.) 














Deus ex Machixa {continued) 




The Rift within the Lute 



Contrary Winds ... 



Dilemma . . . 


VOL. II. 21 

" The rising into place is laborious, and by pains men 
come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base, and 
by indignities men come to dignities. The standing is 
slippery, and the regress is either a downfall or at least 
an eclipse, which is a melancholy thing." 




DEUS EX MACHINA—contimied. 


FTER that extraordinary scene, Tom 
went straight home to his father, and 
demanded to be told exactly what had 
passed between him and old Charles Turold 
a few days earlier. 

** My lad, my dear lad, tell me first what 
he has said to you," said Mr. Palmer, 

**Why, he seems to be on our side! He 
consents, father." 


'' That's right ! that's my work, Tom ! " 
cried the other. 

But when the son begged for explanation, 
he only said — 

'' I'd just as soon you didn't ask me, lad." 

" I hate these riddles," said Tom, im- 

However, he was struck by Mr. Palmer's 
expression of affectionate concern, and hesi- 
tated in his catechism. Between him and 
his father the most perfect trust had always 
subsisted ; so much so that the son at once 
felt it improper to press for information 
which Mr. Palmer was obviously unwiUing 
to give. Nevertheless he made an effort. 
Was it some question of money ? No doubt 
money was important, though for his own 
part he could be quite happy in a cottage. 
But why had the old man spoken as if he 
were somehow in Mr. Palmer's power? 

" Father," said Tom, " if it were any one 
but you I should not like this. Have you 
lent him money, or what is it ? I couldn't 


court Lilith in that way ; she and I must 
know all about it." 

Mr. Palmer replied that buying the land 
upon which to build his house had been his 
only money transaction with Mr. Turold. 

" Then how is he under an obligation to 
you } " asked Tom. 

His father sighed heavily, and said if 
Tom insisted upon knowing he might ask 
Mr. Turold himself, who would very probably 
tell him. But it would be against the interest 
of those he loved, and would bring little 
happiness to himself. The son pondered. 
He hazarded a guess. Mr. Palmer had 
done some generous action according to 
his wont, which he wished kept secret } 
Well, was the son to trade on his fathers 
generosity, to buy his sweet Lilith with it } 

" I don't want to buy her with anything ! " 
cried Tom. " It is fair neither on her nor 
on me." 

"■ No, my boy, you are guessing wrong," 
replied Mr. Palmer, laying his hand gravely 


on his son's shoulder. '* I wish there was 
a question of generosity anywhere in the 
business. Tom, you may learn the facts 
sooner or later : I think you probably will ; 
but I believe you will regret it. There are 
tales of evil conduct come into the story, and 
in some who are or who will be very near 
kin to you." 

His gravity and that hint of disgrace, to 
fall on he knew not whom, silenced Tom for 
the present. Before now he had heard 
remarks from Mr. Palmer, especially in 
moments of agitation, which had occasioned 
him surprise ; but they had never till to-day 
seemed important, and now he could not 
precisely remember them. To any one with 
a clue nothing is easier than to trace allusions ; 
but without a clue it is hard even infallibly 
to recognize them. 

After a few moments' thought, Tom said — 
'' I can trust you, father, I know, not 
to let me in for doing anything dishonour- 
able, or even in any degree shabby." 


" I will give you my word for that," cried 
the idealist, relieved by what seemed an 
acceptance of his silence. ''If I saw you 
doing anything dishonourable I would stop 
you at once, at all costs to you or to myself. 
No ; no one runs danger of being injured 
unless it's yourself ; and my dear, dear boy, 
can't you trust me not to let you be injured, 
or cheated, or defrauded ? " 

Tom, though he raised his eyes still 
doubtfully, and perhaps with a slight demur 
about the invariable soundness of Mr. 
Palmer's judgment, pried no further ; nor 
would filial honour allow him to seek from 
a stranger the information which his father 
was unwilling to give. He tried to think 
the mystery unimportant, and waited im- 
patiently till he should learn the final 
decision of Lilith's father. 

So old Mr. Turold, out of senile inertia, 
and Mr. Palmer, out of combined simplicity 
and ingenuity of mind, had drifted together 
into a plot, but without formal undertakings 


on either side. Either might at any moment 
betray his accompHce ; and yet each was so 
anxious for silence that their action was har- 
monious as that of well-tutored conspirators. 
The only person Mr. Palmer consulted 
was his friend Sir Joseph Kidson, who had 
known the circumstances all along. Sir 
Joseph had his own views about Tom ; more 
worldly wise than Jack Palmer, he had long 
ago found out that the son of Stephen 
Turold was now the heir of entail. He 
meant himself to reveal the facts if no one 
else did ; but on no account yet ; not till 
Tom Palmer (or Turold) was quite safely 
married to his own daughter, Grace, whom 
nature had cut out for a great lady. Such 
being Sir Joseph's plan, he was greatly dis- 
concerted to hear that Tom had fallen in 
love with Lilith Turold. He instantly 
determined at all hazards to hinder that 
match. The young man had no right to 
throw Grace over when all her life he had 
next door to courted her, and the girl had 


an obvious tenderness for him ! Sir Joseph 
applauded Jack Palmer's plot, for in it he 
saw the best chance of hindering Tom's 
betrothal ; once let him be proclaimed a 
Turold, and of course he would be married 
to the superseded heiress in a week, and all 
chance for Grace's promotion gone. There 
was some sort of hope in delay. 

"Jack, you have acted with the greatest 
prudence," he said ; and simple Mr. Palmer, 
satisfied that his friend approved, did not 
inquire into the grounds of his approbation. 

Meantime, Gilbert Turold, though ex- 
tremely discomposed by his father's extraor- 
dinary attitude, was by no means vanquished, 
as Lilith had fondly supposed. He walked 
over to Silcote Dene and himself visited the 
oil merchant, speaking to him in the tone 
almost of a suppliant ; but he learned no- 
thing. ]\Ir. Palmer, who had not told Tom, 
had no intention of telling any one else ; and 
he preserved his stony silence when the gentle- 
man further dilated in very plain language on 


the difference in rank between the lovers, and 
on the backstairs influence which had appa- 
rently been used with the old man, his father. 

From Silcote Dene Gilbert retired dis- 
comfited, and he next went to Molesworthy 
and consulted Edward Vane, feeling that to 
him he owed some sort of apology. Edward 
listened to the story without moving a 
muscle of his face. Like Sir Joseph Kidson, 
he was inwardly resolving that somehow or 
other at all hazards he would hinder the 
match ; yet aloud he argued in Tom's favour, 
and recommended that the betrothal should 
be permitted to take place, on the under- 
standing that the marriage should not too 
speedily follow. It seemed to the unhappy 
Gilbert that the whole world had gone mad 
and joined in league against him. 

" I thought you wanted to marry her your- 
self," cried Mr. Turold. " Upon my soul, 
Edward, your arguments astonish me no 
less than my father's." 

*' I wish to think of Lilith, not of myself," 


said Edward. " Don't smile, Gilbert. Surely 
between friends and in serious discussion 
It is permissible to drop the customary mask 
of selfishness and cynicism. As a matter of 
fact, none of us really govern our conduct by 
selfishness and cynicism. Why may we not 
now and then appear under our true colours ? " 

** I don't understand that sort of high-flown 
sentiment," said Gilbert, angrily. '' I thought 
you professed to love the girl and to want 
her yourself ? " 

" You will find," said Edward with dignity, 
'* that my love for Lilith is unchangeable." 

Gilbert, very far from satisfied, but as 
usual impressed by Edward, hurried home, 
and next tried to get some comfort out of 
the family physician, Dr. Martin having 
been summoned to attend the old monarch, 
who continued weak in body, agitated and 
unreasonable in mind. 

'* He is in an excited condition," said the 
doctor, "and must on no account be con- 
tradicted or annoyed." 


" His mind is going," pronounced Gilbert. 
** Are you of opinion that he is breaking up 
— dying, Dr. Martin?" 

"■ No," replied the physician, surprised. 
'' I think, with a humouring of all his wishes, 
and after a course of my treatment, he will 
revive and be spared to you for many 
months lono^er." 

Gilbert sio^hed. 


''And how is my pretty Miss Lilith ? " 
said Dr. Martin, who had superintended 
Miss Turold's birth, vaccination, measles, 
and scarlet fever, and was nearly as proud 
of her as was her father himself. " I must 
be offering my congratulations, I suppose, 
for her grandfather tells me she is engaged." 

Not even from the doctor could Gilbert 
derive assistance in this matter of Tom 
Palmer's suit. 

He began to think of possible capitulation. 
The war was unfair. There had been 
treachery, and his foes were they of his own 


HE few days of extra delay which 
followed were harder to Tom to bear 
than the previous week. A week is a thing 
with a definite ending. School-boy fashion 
he could count its hours ; but now Mr. 
Turold had said ''wait for the present," and 
who could know when the ending of the 
present might be ? Did the "present" mean 
six hours or six days ? six weeks or six 
months ? And had he been seized by some 
curious malady of his brain, that each hour 
seemed now to stretch itself to the length of 
twelve ? 

Tom was grievously sick with impatience ; 
but the person who found him thoroughly 
cross was Grace Kidson. She had invited 


herself to Silcote Dene, and was, under the 
circumstances, decidedly in the way.. Of 
course she had no idea of what was in the 
air; and she tormented Tom by talking to 
him of his sweetheart, whom she was pleased 
to consider as a disciple of her own. 

''Miss Turold is less of a doll than I 
thought," said Grace. '' I have had some 
interesting conversation with her. Eventu- 
ally she may, I think, take up the question 
of Woman's status. Poor girl ! Surrounded 
entirely by men and by Conservatives, she 
has to do her thinking unassisted, and 
naturally her present opinions are indefinite. 
Yet," said Grace, reflectively, '' I cannot help 
envying her the grand opportunities of her 

*' Though she is surrounded by men and 
Conservatives ? " yawned Tom. 

'* It is those who swim against the stream 
w^ho command attention," said the enthusiast. 
" People never believe that I have adopted 
my views independently. Even Mr. Vane 


says to me, ' that is natural In your father's 
daughter.' " 

" I hate that chap Vane." 

"I know you do. You should struggle 
against prejudice, Tom. Before I knew Mr. 
Vane, I was prejudiced myself, but now I 
have overcome it." 

"■ I believe in prejudice, Grace. You can 
put no dependence on unprejudiced people. 
Prejudices are only habits of mind, and if a 
mind has no habits it has either no life or no 
experience, and it isn't a bit of use." 

" Prejudiced people are ignorant and 

*' But they have instincts and insight ; or 
they ought to have. Anyhow, I hate Edward 

*' He is Miss Turold's cousin, and he in- 
tends to marry her," observed Grace. 

'' I will bet you ten golden guineas, Grade, 
that Miss Turold does not marry Edward 

He laughed, and there was something in 


his tone that made Grace look up, and her 
heart beat rather fast for a minute or two. 

Though an opponent of prejudice, Grace 
had a few very strong habits of mind. One 
such was the habit of regarding Tom Palmer 
as in some curious way her own property ; 
and she always felt offended when she heard 
of his flirting with or interesting himself in 
any other young lady. It had not occurred 
to this self-deceiving woman to ask how far 
jealousy of one individual man was consistent 
with resolutions of eternal spinsterhood. 
At the present moment she did not think 
it was good taste on Tom's part to speak 
so warmly of Miss Turold ; but before she 
could reprove him, they were interrupted by 
Mr. Palmer's entrance from his laboratory, 
followed by a servant with a note for Tom. 

The note was from Mr. Turold, and the 
gentleman himself was said to have brought 
it, and to have proposed returning in ten 
minutes for a reply. 

Tom flushed and his fingers shook as he 


broke the seal. Mr. Palmer came and read 
over his shoulder ; himself so much agitated 
that he lost a blue paper he was carrying, 
which was really of great importance, being 
a record of the stage his experiments in the 
new preparation of paraffin had now attained. 
Grace watched the two men with fast- 
growing curiosity. 

The letter ran thus : — 

" My dear Sir, 

"I have informed you with sufficient distinct- 
ness that I altogether disapprove of your suit to my 
daughter. Miss Turold has not chosen to obey me by 
herself declining the proposals you have made to her ; 
and you have, by what I must stigmatize as undue 
influence, obtained her grandfather's consent to your 
engagement. Under these circumstances, I now ask 
you plainly if yo7i- will withdraw your pretensions and 
honourably decline to take advantage of a young girl's 
weakness and an old man's imbecility against the true 
interest of all parties. If you will consent to this step 
you will extricate us all from a most painful position, and 
you will have earned my hearty respect and gratitude. 
Believe me, 

'' Yours faithfully, 

" Gilbert Turold." 

VOL. II. 22 



When they had both read this, Tom stood 
for a few minutes looking into his father's 
eyes as if silently consulting him. Then he 
wrote, Mr. Palmer reading the words as they 
dropped from his pen : 

" Dear Sir, 

" I cannot believe that I should earn your re- 
spect by withdrawing now, and I must decline to do 
so. Mr. Turold's attitude has made no difference in 
my sense of responsibility to you, though it has given 
both Lilith and me more hope of eventually gaining your 
consent. Our course must depend upon your reply to 
this letter, in which I again formally ask you to give me 
your daughter for my wife." 

"Tom," said Mr. Palmer, "that last 
sentence is ambiguous. Do you mean that 
you will accept his decision or not 1 Is it a 
threat, or a laying down of arms ? " 

" That is exactly what I do not wish to 
explain," said Tom. 

"Well, sign it, and I'll carry it to Mr. 
Turold myself and bring back his answer/' 
said Mr. Palmer, no less excited than Tom. 

He left the room, resolving that if the man 


Still withheld his consent, he and the boy 
should at once learn the facts of the case. 

Tom stood like a marble figure where he 
was, his head bent a little, as if his whole life 
had passed into his two listening ears. 

'* What is all this ? " asked Grace Kidson ; 
'* what have you to do with the Turolds, 

He did not answer ; and ten minutes 
passed, the silence in the room growing 

Lilith ! Most certainly Tom had spoken 
of Lilith. Lilith meant Miss Turold ; the 
child of the world ; the doll. What had 
Tom to do with Lilith 1 

Grace had drawn nearer ; but she was try- 
ing to look indifferent, and she had uncon- 
sciously picked up for a plaything the 
crumpled blue paper which Mr. Palmer had 

Presently the old man returned with some- 
thing very like a film over his kind eyes. 
He laid his hand on Tom's shoulder. 


"■ My boy, he bade me tell you — these are 
his own words, Tom — that he ain't pleased, 
and that he hopes the marriage will never 
come off, and that it mustn't be thought of 
under six months, and that he'll hinder it if 
he can ; but that to avoid open family dis- 
sensions, which he considers intolerable — 
they're his own words, Tom — he withdraws 
his formal refusal to your engagement." 

" Why, then it's all right ! " exclaimed 
Tom the sanguine, seizing his father's hand 
in the exuberance of his triumph. ** I'll be off 
and tell Lilith at once ! " 

No one noticed that Grace slipped from 
the room ; and she remained in concealment 
till the noisy luncheon summons brought her 
down as composed and serene as usual, and 
with a very nice little congratulatory speech 
ready composed for the bridegroom elect. 
No one knew that she had spent a most 
disagreeable hour in her privacy, and had 
gone through a mental conflict, after which 
she never really was quite the same girl she 


had been before. That was it, was it ? 
There was crisis in Tom's history, and it had 
notJiing whatever to do zuith her. He was 
engaged to LiHth Turold. To Lihth 
Turold ! 

''An extremely unsuitable girl," thought 
Grace. '' How I wish he had let me choose 
for him ! " 

That was her reflection when she went 
upstairs first and was still under the delusion 
that Tom was merely her friend, her old 
comrade, in a sense her disciple. Before the 
luncheon gong sounded, she knew a very great 
deal better. She had thought of Tom as 
her own property, to be kept or to be thrown 
aside as she chose, because — because she had 
imagmed he loved her ; because (this was 
very humiliating — Grace, the ardent spinster, 
foueht aofainst the idea as hard as ever she 
could but was not able to escape from it), 
because she loved him ; because all this time 
she had been just like all the other silly 
women, and had fallen in love with a young 


man for no earthly reason than because he 
was rather a fine-looking fellow, and they 
had been in juxtaposition ! Oh Grace ! Grace! 
beautiful, high - souled, vestal virgin, 
"■ thoroughgoing emancipationist where 
Women were concerned ! " And now she had 
descended to this ! She was crying her eyes 
out because she had been in juxtaposition 
with a young man, a very ordinary young 
man ; and now he was going to be married 
to a girl named Lilith Turold, and she her- 
self was left out in the cold. 

** There is one consolation," said Grace, 
rising at last and drying her eyes ; '' no one 
will guess it. I have planned out my whole 
life, and already arranged to be a single 
woman. It was only a habit of mind I 
had got into ; and it just proves that habits 
of mind and animal instincts are ignoble 
and ruinous. I wonder what this blue paper 
in my hand is, and how I came by it ? " ended 
Grace, wrenching her thoughts violently from 
the hateful subject. 


She had twisted the paper and torn it and 
crumpled it as she cried, Hke the silly woman 
she was ; and now it was much defaced and 
hardly legible — a bit of untidy blue paper 
with cabalistic figures, chemical abbreviations 
and hieroglyphics. What was it ? 

She nearly threw it into the fire ; then 
remembered that while talking to Tom, 
before the thunderbolt had fallen, a letter 
from Mr. Vane had come, which she had 
only half read. Grace, Mr. Vane's scientific 
pupil, held with her master a literary, scien- 
tific correspondence which occasionally blos- 
somed into abstractions and moral philosophy. 
She was proud of it ; it was not every young 
woman who wrote in that vein to a clever 
young man. In her secret soul she had 
dreams that her biography might come to 
be written and that that correspondence 
would be published. She wrote her letters 
carefully, making rough copies, two or three 
sometimes ; and Edward Vane had told her 
sincerely enough that they were clever and 


Interesting letters. She looked forward 
eagerly for the philosopher's replies, read 
them over often, and involuntarily learned 
by heart any expressions of praise which 
they contained. To-day Edward's letter 
had seemed a little dull ; her attention was 
to-day so very much more with Tom, who 
after all was far more real to her than was 
the clever young man who wrote about 
science. But in that letter Edward had sent 
her some notes on white paper of a recent 
experiment which he was going to describe 
in a magazine article ; the crumpled blue 
paper, untidy though it was, must, Grace 
supposed, belong to these enclosures. 

After a day or two she returned the white 
paper to Edward, and sent the blue one too 
without remark and without thinking much 
about it. The blue paper puzzled Edward 
in his turn. What was it ? Whose was it i^ 
What w^as on it ? 

But he generally arrived at the truth about 
everything in some way or other ; and before 


very long he knew that Grace had sent It to 
him by mistake ; that she had accidentally 
acquired it In Mr. Palmer's house, and that 
It furnished suggestions for the preparation 
of a new lamp-oil. Out of curiosity, Edward, 
the chemist, set himself to make that new 
oil according to the directions. 

After nearly blowing himself up several 
times, he came to a few conclusions on the 
matter : namely, that the new oil was likely 
enough to come to something some day, as 
it gave an extraordinarily brilliant light, but 
that at present it was too dangerous for use ; 
and that old Palmer was a very clever man 
to have Invented it and a very stupid one to 
have let his rival's daughter get hold of his 
blue paper. And Edward further resolved 
not to let any one know that the blue paper 
had come Into his hands and that he had 
followed the directions on It, and had seen 
the new oil. 









EANTIME Llllth had once more been 
clasped in her lover's arms. 

"My own — my own!" said Tom, *'my 
very own and for ever ! " 

*' Oh, Tom, what did he say ? " cried the 
girl ; '' has he said Ves ? " 

"- A grudging sort of yes, but he has said 
it. Never mind, my sweet, we'll get rid of 
the grudge before the six months are over. 
Must we really wait six months, Lilith ? It 
seems an eternity, but I suppose it isn't 
really. Ought we to fight him about 
that ? " 

*' No, Tom, please don't. But will you 
love me as much at the end of six months as 
you do now ? " 


" At the end of six years." 

'' I suppose we must wait, Tom. But 
will he mind if we — well, see each other 
every day and — all that ? " 

" What does all that mean ? " asked Tom, 
his lips on her black locks. 

Lilith touched his neck lightly with her 

" It means— that kind of thing, perhaps." 

" Do that again, Lilith." 

" But what would papa say ? Does he 
mean it ? " 

'* I suppose he does. But to spare his 
feelings, Lilith, perhaps in public " 

Lilith screamed and jumped up. 

" Tom, if ever you try to kiss me when 
any one is looking, or without my very 
distinct leave " 

" Have I leave now ? " 

" Well, yes — just now," said Lilith, con- 
descendingly, settling down again. 

" Tom, it was very good of you, I suppose, 
but you needn't have told papa every little 


tiny thing. You needn't have told him I 
kissed you at Luxor." 

" But I never did tell him, Lilith." 

'' Oh. I wish I had known you could be 
that much deceitful, then / wouldn't have 
told. I felt at the time it was a mistake, 
and I see now it was that which caused all 
the trouble. Papa is a curious man. It 
seemed to make him dislike you — the idea 
that I had kissed you at Luxor." 

" How am I to get into his good books, 
Lilith ? " 

" Let me think. I'm afraid you'll have 
to grovel, Tom. Not so much to him ; I 
don't know that he thinks so much of him- 
self; but to me. It's very silly, of course, but 
papa always thinks of me as a princess. If 
you could pretend to think the same, just to 
please him " 

Then Mr. Turold was heard approaching. 
He was stopped by Yates, who was much 
mystified by the morning's proceedings, and 
not a little anxious. Mr. Thomas Palmer 


had called and asked for Miss Turold. She 
had admitted him, and — in fact — well — 
Mr. Thomas Palmer was with Miss Turold 

'' Oh, indeed ! " said the master, feeling in 
this encounter with his servant the depth of 
his humiliation. He hid himself in the 
library, and sat gazing into space, gnawing 
his fingers and beating the devil's tattoo with 
his foot. Presently came Lilith, put her 
arm coaxingly round his neck and kissed the 
top of his head. 

" Papa dear, he's here." 
No response. 

"• And he won't go away " 

" No nonsense, Lilith, if you please." 
" — till he has spoken to you, papa." 
" I don't wish to speak to him. I wash 
my hands of it." 

** Oh, papa, you hurt me when you say 
that kind of thing ! " 

** He knows my views. I have nothing 
more to say to him." 


" He wants to shake hands with you, 

'' I haven't the smallest wish to shake 
hands with him. I am not ofoingf to do it." 

" May I ask him to luncheon ? " 

'* I wash my hands of it." 

" But you will come to luncheon as usual ? 
Papa, please do ; you needn't speak or any- 
thing, but you might cut him some cold 
beef I do think," said Lilith, trying to 

The gong sounded, and the dejected 
gentleman rose and moved towards the 

She flew for her lover. 

"■ I don't think you had better say any- 
thing, Tom," she counselled, " not one 
word ; but you are to come." 

Yates and the young footman were in the 
room with their eyes wide open. Mr. 
Turold stood at his place, not looking up. 

"Come now, my dear," he said, "make 


Tom walked straight to his host. 

" How do you do, Mr. Turold ?" he said. 

Yates and the footman were watching, 
their eyes still wider. 

" Oh, how do you do ? " said Mr. Turold 
and gave a cold limp hand mechanically. 

Tom subsided into a chair, and talked to 
the Princess Royal. 

'' Have you been out this morning, 
Lilith ? " he asked. 

*' Oh, do take care ! " murmured the girl. 

Tom smiled at her fondly and repeated 
his question, laying a little stress on her 

Mr. Turold's food choked him. He 
seemed to hear Yates's report in the servants' 
hall : '' Palmer calls 'er Lilith." 

'' I am sorry," thought the poor gentle- 
man, '' that I spoke of a delay. I should 
rather he married her to-morrow, and took 
himself and her at once away out of my 



UT the course of true love never did run 
smooth ; and though the engagement 
was 2l fait accompli y and the lovers were idylli- 
cally happy when alone together, various little 
annoyances inevitably arose connected with 
other people. Mr. Turold was deliberately 
obstructive, Edward wilily so ; the old 
grandfather had turned against his own 
protdgS and allowed him but one interview, 
in which he contradicted everything Tom 
said, and made rude remarks about Mr. 
Palmer. Tom coloured up and answered 


back ; and Lilith was terrified and got him 
out of the room. 

" Tom dearest, you don't seem to under- 
stand. You don't show quite enough yf;^^55^," 
she said, standing before him and slowly 
swinging his arms backwards and forwards 
while she looked up in his face. 

" And you, Lilith, are a darling, but you 
aren't quite simple enough." 

'' Simple, indeed ! " said Lilith, with a little 

'' Straightforward, I mean," said Tom, 
smiling at her. And she flushed slightly and 
felt reproved. 

Each tried to amend, but the characteristics 
remained. Lilith admired his straieht- 
forwardness, and he loved her for her 
timidity ; nevertheless, as time wore on it is 
a question if they did not occasionally a little 
"put each other out." 

Lilith was much too shy to write to all her 
acquaintances and announce her engage- 
ment; and, of course, her father did not 

VOL. IT, 23 


offer to do it for her. She wore a diamond 
ring beside the little hoop of pearls, and 
Tom Palmer came and went, and they 
walked about the park together very 
happily. Of course all the servants knew, 
and the gossip below stairs was loud and hot. 
But such was the awe of the Turold name, 
and such the sense of surprise and dis- 
approval, that the chatter scarcely went 
beyond the walls of Turold Royal, and 
Lilith's own circle did not get hold of it. 
Consequently, she started every time Tom's 
name was mentioned, could not speak to 
him with the smallest ease if there was a 
spectator, and had all the while an uncom- 
fortable feeling that he was being horribly 
slighted. The only person she told, and 
that not of her free will, was her cousin 

" You owe him an apology, my dear," 
said her father ; " it is only fair to tell him 
you have given him up." 

*' Oh, papa," cried Lilith, ''what do you 


mean ? I had nothing to do with Edward ! 
I never gave him any encouragement ! " 

*' Don't be so anxious to exculpate your- 
self, my love," said Mr. Turold. "/ had 
encouraged him, as you perfectly know." 

Hot tears of indignation fell from Lilith's 
eyes ; but she wrote the letter, a slightly belli- 
gerent one. Edward sent her the cunningest 
and kindest of replies ; so kind that on reading 
it she felt stings of remorse for her own 
expressions. And he earned her sincere grati- 
tude by getting her out of Coventry, to which 
exasperating locality her father had exiled 
her during the early days of his annoyance. 

Edward had not at all made up his mind 
how his rival was to be got rid of The nice 
thing would be if Lilith were simply to tire 
of her bourgeois and dismiss him herself 
But Edward's was not the sanguine tempera- 
ment ; he never expected fortune to favour 
him ; whatever prize he obtained in this 
world, it would be after himself labouring for 
it with might and main. 


For the present he waited, and was kind 
to the culprit. 

One day Lilith went to her father with 
alarm in her heart and resolution painted on 
her countenance. 

'' Papa dear," she said, '' I want to talk 
to you about our dinner-party next Thurs- 
day : would two more people matter much ? 
I want to ask Mary Haslop, who is staying 
at the Vicarage." 

'* By all means, Lilith. I am very fond of 
Mary. And her brother ? " 

*' No. Freddy Haslop is not there." A 
pause. '' I want to ask Tom, papa." 

A stony silence. 

"■ Papa, don't you think people — our 
friends — would be rather astonished if they 
heard suddenly that Tom and I were en- 
gaged ? " 

'' Very much astonished, indeed." 

"■ Wouldn't it be better to let it be seen we 
know him ? to — to — have him at our house ? 
He might talk to me a little, when people 


were looking, just to prepare their minds. 
Oh, papa, dont you think so ? " 

'' I wash my hands of it, Llllth." 

" Please, papa, don't say that ! You make 
me so unhappy. If you would only try to 
be friends with Tom ! It does seem to me 
so rude to him, and to me too, papa," said 
the Princess, "never to ask him to any- 

Mr. Turold coldly consented. 

" Edward will be present also," he said. 
** I should like you to compare the two men, 
Llllth : your father's choice and your own. 
You may invite Mr. Palmer." 

'' Papa," said Llllth, making another effort, 
*' don't you think I perhaps ought to an- 
nounce my engagement ? " 

" As you please, my dear. I have no 
doubt Mr. Palmer is announcing it on al 
sides ; every day I expect to see it advertized 
in the Times.'' 

" That is not at all Tom's way, to boast ! " 
cried Llllth ; " every word you say, papa, just 


proves what I tell you, that you don't know 
him a bit ! " 

Tom accepted Llllth's invitation, which 
was all right and just what she wished ; but 
then he made a little mistake. There was to 
be a dinner party at Silcote Dene on Wed- 
nesday, and in accepting Miss Turold's 
invitation for himself, her lover enclosed one 
for her. 

Lillth was horribly embarrassed. She did 
not at all want to dine at Silcote Dene. She 
did not feel on easy terms with Mrs. Palmer, 
nor did she fancy first exhibiting her intimacy 
with Tom anywhere but in her own home. 
Moreover, on the occasion of her one visit 
to the parents of her betrothed, she had acci- 
dentally caught a glimpse of Mr. Palmer in 
the garb he wore In his beloved laboratory ; 
and now, twirlino: the invitation round and 
round, Lillth could not help remembering 
with dismay the dirty leather apron, the 
rolled-up sleeves and coarse arms, the un- 
shaven face, and the strong smell of chemicals^ 


all sueeestine the mere common workman. 
How very awkward she would feel dining 
with a man like that ! And yet she knew 
the feeling was silly ; for was he not her 
Tom's father, and consequently not to be 
avoided and ignored ? Oh ! why, why, why 
had Fortune arranged for Tom a father like 
that ? And how could she go and dine with 
him ? It always came back to that. How 
could she go and dine with a man who wore 
a leather apron, rolled up sleeves, etc. ? 

Nevertheless, she decided she must go ; 
for she was very much in love with Tom 
and quite unequal to the task of disappoint- 
ing him. If she declined, Tom might think 
she despised him and his belongings. 

''I don't! I don't!" cried Lilith, her 
cheeks aflame with the recollections of 
having once told him *' Yon are not one 
of us!' 

Tom was in London, and she was not 
likely to see him till the occasion came. 
That made it all the worse. With a little 


conversation, a kiss or two, she might grace- 
fully have got out of it ; pen and ink made 
nothing possible but Yea or Nay. She 
wrote her Yea, and sent it. Had she not 
said a hundred times that she would do any- 
thing for Tom ? 

But her own disinclination to the feast 
made her exaggerate the horror with which 
her father would regard it ; and she prepared 
a fresh difficulty for herself by not telling 
him at once of Mr. Palmer's invitation, much 
less of her own acceptance of it. When 
Wednesday came she got a suitable dress 
ready, but still had not told her maid or 
any one that she was going out ; she even 
gave a few hints about a headache, which, 
however, refused to come into existence to 
help her. 

She sat in her own boudoir, practising her 
harp diligently. Music of any sort reminded 
her of Tom, and she felt rather inclined to 
cry, so melancholy and sentimental was her 
mood. And then suddenly she heard a 


voice humming the air she was playing, and 
Tom himself was by her side. 

" Oh, I am glad to see you ! " exclaimed 
Lilith, jumping into his arms ; and she never 
remembered the headache, which, of course, 
should have been mentioned at once. 

" How dare you come up here ? " cried 
Lilith, all sparkles ; '' this is my very own 
room. I never invited you up here ! The 
servants will be guessing if we go on so, 
Tom ! Look, that is my book-case with all 
my pet books. Some I have had since I was 
quite a little girl — ' Effie's Friends,' and the 
* King's Messengers,' and ' The Heir of 
Redcliffe.' And here is ' Friends in Coun- 
cil,' the first dull book I ever read to please 
myself. I often read dull books now. I do 
indeed, Tom. I will get anything you wish 
me to read, and study it, every single word, 
to please you." 

'' * Books ! 'tis a dull and endless sh^l/e ! ' " 
said Tom, pinching her ears. " I think we 
all read too much. We know so well what's 


been written about every single thing, that 
nobody ever gets at any thoughts of his own." 

" Dear me ! " cried Lilith ; '' then all the 
nice things you say to me, Tom, are they 
really quoted from books ? I should never 
have found it out ! And what a good 
memory you must have ! " 

** Sweet flatterer," said Tom, *' tell me 
some books you want and I will send them 
to you." 

** I should like a great many volumes of 
Ruskin," said Lilith, promptly. 

" Ruskin ! " echoed the barbarian ; '' what 
do you want Ruskin for ? " 

** I believe every word he says ! " cried the 
girl, with dancing eyes. 

" Do you .^ Well, I don't. I've always 
found a great gulf fixed between Mr. Rus- 
kin's remarks and the truth — a gulf to 
drown in." 

"A gulf, Tom .^ what nonsense ! It's only 
a gap, which any one the least active-minded 
can scramble through somehow. And, Tom 


dear, they have the most lovely bindings, 
and I never could afford to buy a single 
volume ! " 

''You shall have them all, Lilith," said 
Tom, laughing. 

Then he told her that he had met Mr. 
Turold at the station : Mr. Turold just 
stepping into a train and sending a note to 
his daughter by the groom. 

'* He gave it to me instead," said Tom ; 
''here it is." 

" Papa gave yott a message to bring to 
me ? " cried Lilith. " Tom, he must be getting 
used to you ! Give it to me. Why, I de- 
clare, papa has gone off to Market Har- 
borough — telegraphed for by Erpingham. 
He won't be home till to-morrow. How 
very extraordinary of him ! Dear me ! I 
do hope he won't forget our dinner party ! " 
Then she drew a grave face. " Do you 
know, Tom, I think we'll go down to the 
drawing-room. My best friends come up 
here, but Yates might think it funny for me 


to give you tea up here the day papa is 

'' As you please, my treasure. But I 
think I'll go away now, or we shall have 
nothing left to say to each other to-night." 

" Oh, to-night '' said Lilith, her em- 
barrassment suddenly rolling over her spirit 
again, like a returning tide. 

She led the way absently to the drawing- 
room, and rang for the tea. She poured 
it out, still silent and o^rave, and Tom 
began to wonder what she was thinking 

*' Tom dear," said Lilith at last, " I was 
considering if you would mind very much — 
I have rather a headache, you know — if I 
didn't come to-night." 

" Didn't come, Lilith ! " echoed Tom in 

" Of course I want to come," said the girl 
hastily; *'it isn't that, but " 

'' You said you would come, Lilith ! Why 
have you changed your mind ? You haven't 


really a headache, have you ? " said Tom, 

" No," said Lillth, colouring and laughing. 

" You needn't tell me stories about it," 
said Tom. "Why don't you want to 
come ? " 

'' I do want to come. I mean — it's only 
about papa ; but of course as he's out I can 
manage it now quite easily." 

"■ Did Mr. Turold not wish you to come .^ " 

"■ I hadn't asked him. I meant to tell 
him just before I started." 

" Did you ? Or did you mean to say that 
to me about the headache ? " 

'' Oh, Tom, please don't jw/ be cross with 
me ! You don't know how difficult it all is ! 
I told you I wasn't brave." 

Tom was a little disturbed, though he 
took her hand affectionately. 

" But, Lilith, you mustn't ever be a coward 
with me. Why didn't you just tell me you 
would rather not ? " 

Lilith scented disapprobation, and was so 


much agitated that her voice began to sound 
a Httle angry. 

" Because if you didn't guess without my 
telHng — Tom, what's the good of talking 
like this? Ring the bell, and I'll order 
the carriage. There is no real difficulty 

Tom took his hand slowly away and was 
silent for a minute. 

'' But, Lilith, I don't see how you can 
come now, as you haven't asked him, and 
as you think he wouldn't like it." 

'' Of course he wouldn't like it. He 
doesn't like any of it. It's just that it's 
easier to do what he doesn't like, when he is 
not here to look vexed." 

'' Don't say that kind of thing, my darling. 
That is not the way to look at it." 

'' I will run up and tell grandpapa ; that 
will do." 

*' No, that won't do," said Tom, rather 

He was evidently displeased. 


•* You don't really care, Tom, do you ? " 
said Lillth, growing alarmed. 

*' But of course I care, Lilith ! My mother 
will be disappointed, and so will our friends 
who are expecting to see you. There will 
be wrong conjectures." 

'* You can tell Mrs. Palmer I have a head- 
ache. And the other people won't make any 
conjectures ; none of them know about you 
and me." 

"■ But, Lilith, they all know ! " cried Tom, 

" Oh no, Tom ! You don't mean that you 
have told them '^ I haven't told any one ; 
not a single person, except Edward, who is 
like one of ourselves ! " 

"Lilith " He paused. "■ Lilith, I am 

very sorry if there has been a misunder- 
standing. I was never told this was to be 
kept secret." 

'' I didn't suppose you would need telling," 
said Lilith. " Papa said you would go 
spreading it, and I declared you would not ! 


I said It wasn't at all your way to boast " 

She checked herself and glanced at her 
lover, alarmed by her own indiscreet speech. 

Tom's heightened colour and flashing eyes 
were not reassuring ; and Lilith was silent, 
drawing patterns on the rug with her toe and 
struggling with tears. There was a silence. 

'' Oh, Tom, don't, don't be angry with 
me ! " cried Lilith at last, springing to her 
feet. '' It is cruel, Tom, when I love you 
so, and everything is so difficult. I get 
frightened, and then you know I say silly 
things. Oh, do come and kiss me, Tom, 
and say you love me, and will forgive me 
everything ! " 

Of course they made it up, and were talk- 
ing nonsense to each other as usual before 
ten minutes were out. Nevertheless, had 
Edward listened at the door, those few 
minutes would have fanned his hopes of an 
intervening providence. 

Next day her cousin himself was with her, 
fraternal and friendly, taking Lllith's part. 


eulogistic of Tom, while giving her to under- 
stand that his own heart was broken. Lilith 
was not going to believe that ; but she had 
the woman's tenderness for a rejected suitor, 
and had never liked Edward better than at 
this moment. 

Mr. Turold was surprised by the friendli- 
ness of the cousins as they sat chatting 
together before the dressing - bell rang. 
Always ready on the smallest provocation to 
resume his own discarded theories, he now 
decided afresh that the silly child's heart at 
bottom was really and truly her cousin's ; and 
that her present engagement was all a piece 
of nonsense, doomed to the speediest decay. 

The piece of nonsense meanwhile was 
fertile in irritations. 

An hour later Lilith was ready dressed, 
and with her father and her cousin was 
awaiting the arrival of the dinner-party 
guests. Her frock was very simple and 
girlish ; but she wore one of Tom's orchid 
blossoms, and round her throat a diamond 

VOL. II. 24 


necklace which he had given her. Very 
conscious of it, and in some trepidation, 
she entered the drawing-room. Mr. Turold 
looked her up and down without any smile 
of approval. His eye rested on the bril- 
liants, and, after an uncomfortable pause, he 
said gently, for he was really sorry to snub 
her at this moment : 

" My love, you are too young to wear 
diamonds in that profusion, and they do not 
suit your dress. Run and take them off." 

Edward saw an opportunity. 

" Oh, Lilith ! " he exclaimed, " why have 
you had them reset ? This modern setting 
is not to be named in a breath with the old 

Lilith coloured. 

" What on earth do you mean, Edward ? 
Reset ? But this is a new necklace." 

'* Oh, I beg pardon ! " said Edward, 
quickly ; " to be sure, I see now that it's 
new. But I never imagined any jewels on 
you except the family ones." 


" Lilith has never worn our diamonds," 
interrupted Mr. Turold, '' and they would 
be ridiculous at a quiet party like this. 
Oblige me, my dear," he ended persuasively, 
in a low voice. 

Edward now produced a plain gold necklet 
of delicate workmanship. 

" I was just going to offer you this, Lilith," 
he said. " Do you not think, Gilbert, she 
might do me the honour " 

'' Certainly, certainly," said her father. 
"It is beautiful, Edward. My love, you 
will please your cousin by wearing it to- 

" No, Edward," said Lilith, appealingly ; 
" indeed I can't put it on now. This is 
Tom's present, and I am going to wear it." 

Here was rebellion. 

*' ]\Iy dear," said Mr. Turold, '* do you 
want it advertized that we have sold you to 
a rich man for diamonds ? Even family 
jewels are out of place on a young girl. 
New ones smelling of a shop counter are 



always to my mind In bad taste. You must 
remove them, Llllth ; and quickly too," he 
added, for wheels had already been heard, 
and now came footsteps. 

Llllth had no time for reflection ; direct 
disobedience was a tremendous step ; and 
besides, jewels which were not heirlooms 
seemed to herself little less alarmlno^ than 
false ones. Mechanically she unfastened 
her necklace, and just as the door was 
opening, Mr. Turold snatched It up and put 
it In his pocket to get It out of the way ; 
and while Sir Maxwell and Lady Majori- 
banks were being announced, Edward 
snapped his little gold circlet round Lillth's 
throat, which felt It burn like an inquisition 
torture. All this was discomposing to the 
young hostess. 

Lilith had smiled to herself In the morn- 
ing, thinking what fun it would be treating 
her lover as a mere acquaintance, touching 
his hand stiffly and calling him Mr. Palmer. 
But the fun was taken out of her now, and 


her attitude to her betrothed seemed like 
treason. Tom's one glance at her neck 
showed her that he missed his diamonds ; 
and she thought he cruessed the little circle of 
delicate gold to have been the gift of another. 
At her earliest opportunity, and in Tom's 
hearing, she said to her cousin, " Edward, 
it's too tight, I can't wear it ; " and took the 
hateful thing off and left it on the table, thus 
annoying her father, and calling more than 
one person's attention to the fact that It had 
been Edward's gift. 

Tom was, of course, perfectly well re- 
ceived. Seated between the friendly Mrs. 
Trevylyan and a lively young lady who 
admired his appearance, he got on ex- 
cellently well ; and Mr. Turold breathed 
more freely, allowing himself once or twice to 
address his prospective son-in-law. Edward 
alone, though apparently cordial to the 
alien, steered the conversation Into channels 
which might, he hoped, bring him to ship- 


'' Let us rejoin the ladies," said Gilbert 
Turold, gloomily, not quite fancying the 
topics thus started, and imagining them to 
be of Tom's introducing. 

" I should think that young fellow was a 
good man of business," was the remark of 
one of the guests, buttonholing his host ; 
•'he explained the situation admirably. I 
confess I was getting into a panic about my 
banker's liabilities, and it's pleasant to be 
enlightened In a monetary crisis by a city 
man. Certainly I was a little surprised to 
meet young Palmer here, but what a pre- 
sentable chap he Is ! It shows what a public 
school can do. Not that his father Isn't a 
most worthy man too, in his own way." 

Mr. Turold, as may be imagined, listened 
to all this with very mixed feelings. 

In the drawing-room Miss Haslop was 
singing ; but Lilith had opened the piano 
for a different musician. Presently she had 
Tom at the piano, preluding vaguely with 
the recognized master touch which checked 


conversation, and asking Miss Turold what 
he was to sins:. 

Lilith did not make a very sympathetic 
selection, but he got interested in the 
difficult passages of the opera song she had 
demanded, and his fine voice rane out 
splendidly. The room was rapt, and the 
old ladies put up their eye-glasses and 
looked at the singer in amazement. 

*' Really, my dear Miss Turold," said 
Lady Majoribanks, " I have never heard 
such a voice out of a concert-room." 

" Yes ! Doesn't he sing well ! " cried 
Lilith, delighted. 

" Far too well for an amateur," contributed 
Edward's clear, smiling tones. 

Lady Majoribanks was intolerably stupid, 
and had been out of the county for eighteen 
months ; she had been wondering the whole 
evening who the strange young man could be. 

'*Ah, Mr. Vane explains it," she said in a 
croaky whisper. '' I saw he was no amateur. 
He has the professional genius. Very fine 


indeed ! very delightful ! We heard you 
were taking lessons, dear Miss Turold. 
This gentleman is, of course, your music- 
master. I hope you will introduce him to 
me, and perhaps he will sing at our hospital 

Lilith was aghast ; and her father's 
annoyance was ill-concealed, and Edward 
was smiling. So indeed was Tom, who, 
to say truth, was rather flattered. But 
neither Lady Majoribanks nor Lilith re- 
garded music-masters as quite "one of 
themselves," and the girl would have liked 
to knock the blundering old lady down. 
Her resolution was taken in a moment ; 
there were occasions on which she could be 
brave enough. 

'' Tom, you must sing again ; not that sort 
of song. I don't know why I asked for it. 
Sing Schumann's ' Lorelei,' please, Tom.'" 
And she stood up in the centre of the room, 
looking like a trembling doe at bay. 

Tom saw he was intended to support her. 


" If I can remember it, Lzlitk,'' he said 
with a smile, and began the delicate swaying 
symphony ; while Mr. Turold and Edward 
exchanged glances, and all the strangers held 
their breath. 

"■ Is that young man a relation of yours, 
Mr. Turold } " asked old Sir Maxwell, who 
was nearly as stupid as his wife. '* I 
observed a likeness " 

" A likeness ! What will people say 
next ? " thought Gilbert Turold ; but esp7^it 
de corps brought him to Lilith's assistance. 
'* You had better ask my daughter, Sir 
Maxwell," he said dryly. ''You see she 
addresses him as a relation." 

Lilith sank down again on her chair, and 
stared at the carpet, and said the multiplica- 
tion table to herself, hoping to regain com- 
posure after this violent effort. When 
Tom was singing the concluding passage : 

" Kommst nimmer mehr aus diesem wald, 
Nimnier mehr — nimmer mehr " — 

a slight commotion arose, and a cry that Miss 


Turold was fainting. He stopped abruptly, 
pushed Edward aside, and himself, unfor- 
bidden, raised the drooping girl. The secret 
was well out, even before she had opened 
her eyes with quick return of life and had 
smiled at him. 

When everybody had gone that night, the 
still agitated Lilith was with her father, who 
until a month ago had admired everything 
she did, and praised her to herself and to 
every one a hundred times more than ever 
she deserved. 

'' I am not pleased, Lilith," he was saying ; 
" you are so sudden in your moods and so 
changeable in your conduct that you become 
melodramatic. Well, you may go to bed 
with the pleasant conviction that to-morrow 
you'll be the best-discussed young woman in 
the county." 

" Papa," pleaded Lilith, " I couldnt listen 
to people making remarks about him and 
not speak out. How could I .^ " 

" As you have chosen to engage yourself 


to a man people ' make remarks about/ I 
can quite understand that you occasionally 
find you are in an awkward position. It 
must have been mortifying to the young 
man himself to see you so ashamed as to 
faint, when your connection with him was 

''Will Tom think that!'' cried the poor 
child in dismay. " Oh, papa, why did you 
take his necklace ? It all came of that. It 
made me wretched, and Tom will think I 
did not care for his present. Papa, give it 
me back." 

''Tut, tut, tut!" said Mr. Turold, more 
moved than he cared to express, and tossed 
her the diamonds carelessly, and kissed her 
with assumed indifference. 

Nevertheless, though the manner of the 
betrothal's announcement had been offen- 
sively sensational, Mr. Turold got on better 
with Tom after this. It was not in Gilbert 
Turold to be uncivil except under immediate 
provocation ; he became used to seeing the 


lovers together ; he found the young man 
rather a pleasant companion than otherwise, 
and If the engagement was a nine-days' 
wonder, no one wondered very loud In his 
hearing, and the nine days passed with 
surprising celerity. 

** Let us be most careful " — this had been 
Edward's advice — '' not to alienate Lillth. 
If she wearies of this man, let her have a 
father, and may I not say a brother ? — to 
turn to for affection and sympathy." 

Mr. Turold thought these the words of 
wisdom, and believed himself to have them 
In mind, as he gradually resumed his cares- 
sing tone towards his disobedient daughter. 



S for Edward himself, he played his 
part so well that Lillth thought him 
quite marvellously improved. As a semi- 
lover he had not shone, but even in the 
days of the semi-lovering he had been an 
intimate friend. Now she had no reserve 
at all in her feeling about him ; he was a 
kind and convenient champion and ally, a 
confidant, in fact, as he said himself, an elder 

But, then, Lilith knew nothing at all — and 
Tom hardly enough to justify his enduring 
dislike — of the cynical speeches Edward 
made about the ens^ao^ement behind Lilith's 
back. People said he talked nonsense; 
nevertheless, he made an impression, and 


his words got repeated about, and more 
seriously than he had uttered them. 

The Turolds were admittedly out at 
elbows ; they were selling their heiress for 
cash. The correct thing to do, wasn't it ? 
A nobody ? A low-born chap ? Oh, the 
Turolds tried to live up to their times. 
It was no longer fashionable to be well-born. 
It was as unfashionable as to marry for love. 
Miss Turold marrying for love '^. No ; she 
was marrying for diamonds. Hadn't you 
seen her new necklace ? Her father pleased ? 
Yes, in a way. He had had one great fright, 
poor man ; he had thought his heiress was 
going to marry her first love, who wasn't 
modern at all, and who never could have 
bought her that necklace. And, really now, 
she simulated a liking for her betrothed very 
prettily. The only pity was the six months' 
delay. So many things can happen in six 
months. Riches sometimes fly away in six 
months ; first loves sometimes rise from 
the dead ; lovers' quarrels cannot always be 


** I don't care what any one says ! " cried 
Geraldlne Mount-Jocelyn. '' I believe Lilith 
is in love with him, and I think it a de- 
lightful marriage. And does that horrid 
little Mr. Vane mean himself by the first 
love ? What nonsense it is ! As if Lilith 
couldn't have married him if she had 
wished ! " 

''I believe Lilith will marry Mr. Vane," 
said her mother, whose views were naturally 
less romantic than her daughter's. 

And there were other people who said 
the very same thing, and believed they 
grounded their assertion on the law of 
probability and on sundry other immutable 
natural laws as well. 

Still the months wore on, and spring 
came, and Lilith was buying her modest 
trousseau, and longing for the termination 
of the half-year's probation. By this time 
her lover knew all the pictures at Turold 
Royal, and had heard the stories of all the 
dead men and women whose features looked 


out at him like ghosts from their canvas. 
Lihth had learned those legends in her 
cradle, and to her they were reverend as 
the tales in Samuel or the Chronicles ; she 
wanted her husband to revere them all 
too, and was perhaps a little too serious 
about them. 

" Doesn't it interest you, dearest ? " she 
said one day, stopping abruptly when Tom 
had been betrayed into a yawn. 

"■ Oh yes," he replied, apologetically ; **only 
not quite so much as ourselves, I think." 

"But they are ourselves!" cried Lilith. 
'* You will feel it, Tom, I know you will ! " 

" rd give a great deal that you weren't the 
heiress, my pet ! " said Tom, impulsively. 

'' But that is treason, Tom ! Why do you 
say so ? " cried Lilith, as much astonished 
as if he had wished her humpbacked. 

*' Because — all this glory will be thrown 
away upon me," said Tom Palmer, jocular 
yet serious. '' I shan't know what to do 
with it. I think my slender Lilith much 


sweeter than those voluminous women, her 
ancestresses, and I won't have her conform 
to their pattern. And I doubt I shall ever 
know the genealogy quite perfectly ; and, 
as for Perkin Warbeck's head, and the Count 
of Edessa's dirty doublet, and Bluebeard's 
warming-pan, and King Log's caul, and all 
the rest of them. If they were mine, Lillth, 
not yours, my sweet — I appreciate the differ- 
ence — but truly and actually mine, do you 
know what I'd be strongly tempted to 

" I don't want to know," said Llllth, play- 
fully striking him with a paper-knife. " Of 
course you are only teasing me ; but I don't 
like to be teased about the things I value 
most In the world. And all mine Is yours, 
of course, Tom — only not to make game of. 
Don't you really care for them a little ? " 
she ended, with her pretty smile. 

" Oh yes, very much — especially because 
you do. Only not the cauls, Llllth ; they 
are too physiological. And Td like to bury 

VOL. II. 25 


the heads ; even Perkin Warbeck, I suppose, 
had his rights as a man. And, LiHth, you 
mustn't bother me about the Pretender 
because Edward Vane chooses to write the 
poor fool's biography. I was born with a 
contempt for the Pretender, and so I dare 
say was Edward himself That cousin of 
yours plays with opinions which are other 
men's creeds, and he takes up as ' irdpepya ' 
what to others are the serious businesses 
of entire lives. It's all cant and rubbish and 
conceit, and I won t have anything to do 
with it ; and I don't intend to read Edward's 
article when it comes out. Do you hear ? " 

"You are just as wicked about Edward 
as he is about Prince Charlie," said Lilith ; 
"and you know he has only taken the subject 
up to please papa. I wish you were more 
like Edward, Tom!" cried Lilith, standing 
in front of her lover, her hands behind her 
back and her eyes sparkling. 

"It's all cant and rubbish and vanity!" 
repeated Tom, smiling at her ; and he lifted 


her off her feet and kissed her, and went 
away smiHng still. 

But once out of her presence he grew a 
little serious, and wondered in his heart 
whether Lilith really cared for all these 
matters as much as she thought she did ; 
and the idea crossed his mind that his wife's 
family and the atmosphere of the Court 
might become a little oppressive, and that 
he might, in the days to come, find himself 
a fish out of water there, if not a bit of a 

''I do wish she wasn't the heiress," re- 
peated Tom. '' Still, she'd never have been 
quite what she is if she had grown up away 
from those red walls and that terraced ofarden. 
I could feel the old place's seduction well 
enough if I wasn't told quite so much about 

And then he went off into self-question- 
ings more practical and, in some ways, more 
harassing about the exact shaping of the 
life he and Lilith were to lead together, till 


the day, at least, when she should be called 
to mount her little throne upon her father's 
death. Tom did not, In his mind's eye, see 
the shape of his married life quite so clearly 
as he wished ; there had been things said to 
him, not indeed by his bride, but by her 
family, about fashionable London society 
and about the House of Commons, which 
had not altogether pleased him. The 
fashionable London society he could easily 
refuse, but the House of Commons was a 
more difficult problem, because not without 
its attractions. Yet Tom had a strong con- 
viction that he was not yet ready for the 
House of Commons ; he did not even know 
upon which side of that House he would 
wish to sit. He had been bred a Radical, 
but had now a growing suspicion that most 
modern Radicalism was Ignorance ; certainly 
that his dear old father's was — Ignorance, and 
generous error. The Turolds, of course, 
took for granted that Lllith's husband would 
follow the Tories ; but Tom felt quite as 


little inclined for that as for the Radicalism, 
especially at the bidding of his relations-in- 
law. It was evident the House of Commons 
would have to wait for Lilith's Prince 
Consort ; he was not going to be hustled 
into a position for which he felt himself 
unfit, because his relations-in-law represented 
it as a sort of pledge of respectability. 
Altogether, his back was a little up about 
his relations-in-law, and he wished heartily 
he could have had Lilith without them. 

There were other questions too : what was 
to be Lilith's attitude to her relations-in-law ? 
This was a point to which so far they had 
shut their eyes, and Tom really did not 
know what his bride s theories about it were. 
He had his own, however, and one day he 
made up his mind to express them. Lilith 
herself gave him an opportunity. 

"Tom," she said, gently, ''why have you 
never asked me to dinner again 1 I hardly 
know your mother, though we have been 
engaged all these months. I'm afraid you 


were offended because I didn't go the first 

Tom sat down beside her and kept silence 
for a minute. 

'' I have always been sorry, Lilith, that 
you didn't come that day, for I think we 
got a little into the wrong course in conse- 
quence. Once we are married, we must 
make a change. If I were going to marry a 
Spaniard," he went on, cautiously, '' I should 
expect her, when the ceremony was over, to 
become an Englishwoman." 

*' But, Tom, not if you were going to live 
with her in Spain," said Lilith. 

'' I shouldn't dream of expatriating myself," 
he answered, quickly. 

She laughed. 

'' I speak in parables, Lilith." 

*' I know, Tom dear. Please say what 
you mean, straight out." 

'' I want to look ahead a little. It would 
pain me very much, my sweet, if my father 
should think — what wouldn't be true, I know, 


only he might fancy It — that my wife looked 
down upon him. Once we are married, you 
must come and stay in his house and get 
to know him ; and my mother too, and my 
friends. I don't suppose you'll find them 
exactly like the people youVe been used to, 
but they have quite as good hearts." He 
dropped the hortatory tone, which, indeed, was 
little natural to him, and burst out with some 
vehemence, " Lilith ! what I want to say is 
this : I know, intimately, a lot of people 
whom I don't believe you will like one bit ; 
and yet I can't, and I won't, turn my back 
on them, and you mustn't ask it ! " 

''Indeed, Tom " began Lilith. 

'' Let me finish ! I ought to have put it all 
before you long ago. There's no use, Lilith, 
in pretending to ourselves or to one another, 
that it's going to be all plain sailing. It 
hasn't been plain sailing yet, and we're pro- 
bably at the easiest part of it. I want you 
to understand that I can't and I won't turn 
my back on my old friends and companions 


and relations because I have married above 
me ; and I'll tell you another thing I can't 
do : I can t enrol myself in one class and 
my wife in another. If you don't feel with 
me there, Lilith, we shall never get on, for 
divergence of aim about that kind of thing- 
would be a constant irritation, and I'm not 
at all sure I could stand it patiently ! " 

*' But I will always try to do just what you 
like, Tom," said Lilith, caressing but rather 
bewildered, for Tom seemed agitated. It had 
been an effort to him to say all this, and the 
effort showed. '' Oh, Tom ! you aren't re- 
penting, are you ? " she faltered, turning 
suddenly pale. 

'' Silly goose ! " said Tom, putting his arm 
round her. ''Repent? I? When I love 
you, Lilith ? But listen, my sweet ; your 
grandfather sent for me this morning. He 
was talking of our arrangements, our means, 
our residence " 

'' Yes ! yes ! Tell me, Tom." 

** He seemed to suppose we should live 


here, in this house. Now, LiHth, I may as 
well say decidedly, I have never contem- 
plated that for a moment, and I shouldn't 
like it at all." 

'' Oh, Tom ! " Lilith's face fell, and he 
kissed her tenderly ; but his heart was beat- 
ing with vague apprehension. 

" I shouldn't like it at all," repeated Tom ; 
'' and, Lilith, I don't mean to do it." 

There was a pause, and he saw her lip 

'' What is your idea, then, Tom ? " faltered 
Lilith, so gently that he was touched to the 

*' Oh, my darling, have you been counting 
on that ? " exclaimed Tom. *' Wouldn't you 
rather have a house of your own — be alone 
with me ? " 

'*Oh yes, Tom, I'd like to be alone with 
you, of course, only " 

" Go on, my treasure," said Tom, much 
troubled ; '' let's have it out. I had no idea 
you were counting on that, Lilith ! " 


*' Tom," said the girl, with some eager- 
ness, *' you know I've been brought up to 
think it would be quite wrong for me ever to 
live anywhere else. That's why they didn't 
let me marry Lord Beacon — not that I 
wanted to — because he has ties and estates 
of his own. And yoti haven't, Tom. You 
could fix all your interests here, as if yott, 
not I, were the heir. I thought you'd 
always be here with papa, just as he has 
been with grandpapa. But, of course, Tom, 
I will do whatever you like," she ended, 
with the gentle submissiveness and the 
quivering lip which had touched him 

Tom shook his head gravely. 

** My darling, I could never occupy to your 
father the position he has occupied to your 
grandfather. Neither he nor I could tolerate 
it. And, Lilith, are you not counting your 
chickens a little before they are hatched ? 
Your father dropped a hint to that effect in 
the course of this conference to-day." 


*'What sort of hint, Tom?" said Lilith, 

*' He spoke of his great regret that he had 
no male heir, and hinted that he might marry 

Tom was astonished by the effect these 
words had upon Lilith. She sat up quite 
straight on the sofa, removing herself a 
little from him as if offended ; and her 
cheek flushed and paled, and flushed and 
paled, with quick alternations. 

** I think, Tom," she said, '' you must have 
misunderstood papa. Certainly it is not 
like him to joke in that way." 

"■ He was not joking. Why shouldn't he 
marry, Lilith ? He is not at all old. Is he 
even fifty ? " 

" Papa will not marry again," said Lilith, 
" because he was very fond of my dear, dead 
mother. If you had known her, Tom, you 
would understand that. Suppose I were to 
die, would you go and marry somebody else 
not three years after ? " 


" That is entirely different ! " said Tom ; 
presently however, he added, returning to 
his original point, '' Well, if Mr. Turold has 
any idea of the kind, he will hardly ask our 
advice. But, considering the possibility, 
Lilith, if for no other reason, I don't mean 
to fix my residence in his house. You must 
make up your mind to that, my dearest." 

*' I will do just whatever you like, Tom," 
said Lilith, but with more hauteur than when 
she had spoken the words a few minutes 

"Shall we build a caravanserai on the 
banks of the Nile, where we saw each other 
first ? " he said playfully, bending over her ; 
'' or have you ever dreamed my dream of an 
English cottage — with a double coach-house, 
of course — far down in the blue country, 
with climbing roses and wild nightingales, 
and no one but you and me to live in it ? " 
And he chanted — 

" There, with a loaf of bread, beneath the bough, 
A flask of wine, a book of verse, and ihotL 
Beside me, singing in the wilderness " 


Lillth smiled and put her hand in his ; 
but there was some unusual pathos in her 
smile, and he felt across his spirit a shadow 
of misgiving. 

** I do wish you hadn't repeated that to 
me about papa ! " she said, presently. '' I 
am quite sure he was not speaking seriously ; 
but, still, if he felt love to be at all what we 
think it — you and I, Tom — he could not 
have made even the suggestion. Don't you 
agree with me, dearest ? " 

'' He wants a male heir," said Tom ; " and 
at the risk of offending you, my princess, I 
must say, for my own part, I sincerely wish 
he had one." 

'* But not at the price of a crime against 
Love," said Lilith, very gravely, and rather 
hurt that Tom would not assent. She rose, 
and was leavinor him. *' As to a male heir," 
she said, fearful of having given a wrong 
impression, " I could welcome him cordially. 
Of course I could ! That's another question 
altogether. All I mean is that to think papa 


could forget my darling mother, is nearly as 
bad to me, Tom, as to think you could forget 
me ! " And she retired with tears in her 
eyes, and feeling scarce less melancholy 
than Hamlet, when his mother married her 
brother-in-law, and he, in consequence, lost 
all his own faith in the innocent Ophelia. 

Lilith was only nineteen, and she had 
lived much with her own uncorrected 
thoughts, and had breathed from her cradle 
an atmosphere of romance and of illusion, 
perhaps of sentiment. The danger of an 
illusion's sudden destruction is that some 
opposing illusion takes root and grows lustily 
in the vacant place. There was danger of 
some such evil growth in Lilith's fancy now 
that she had suddenly become aware of illu- 
sion in her idea of wedded love and constancy. 
Yet the little seed of doubt might never 
have had even a chance of orrowinor had she 

o o 

not happened to read the Queen newspaper 
that night, when she was waiting for the 
dinner bell. In it she found the report of an 


address to some Woman's Guild in Birming- 
ham, spoken by that earnest, beautiful, 
impressive creature Miss Kidson, at an 
anniversary meeting. Her subject was the 
difference between Women and men, and this 
is what Lilith read : — 

" Men, be it always remembered, are not like us ; they 
love Woman, but not one woman in particular. If they 
cannot have the woman they desire, they take another. 
It is not because Women have less character than 
men, so that one is as good as the other ; it is 
because men have less character, little earnestness, no 
enthusiasm. They ^«;mot be true in love. Widows 
seldom marry ; widowers always j old men take wives 
daily ; old women have more sense. Some day we shall 
see equal laws for men and Women, and public opinion 
will bear equally on both. At present, man is judged 
the more leniently ; he who being the stronger, should 
have'more expected from him, not less. Why should he 
be fickle and faithless ? Can the question be answered ? 
And that he is fickle and faithless, the indisputable 
testimony of facts proves to us daily. The young curates, 
the mothers' darlings, propose to girl after girl, because 
they must catch wives of some sort. The admirable and 
excellent fathers of families are rewedded within twelve 
months from the day when their wives' coffins are carried 
from their doors. If the good men treat us thus, what 
shall we say of the others ? " 


Here Llllth, greatly incensed, tore the 
paper to pieces, and felt sure that Grace 
Kidson was a wicked liar and a calumniator 
of the male sex in general, and, at any 
rate, of her dear lover, Tom Palmer ; who 
was most certainly constant, and quite abso- 
lutely true, even if in this respect he were 
unlike every other man in the whole wide 


I^^NE more cause of anxiety had the 
^=^ expectant bridegroom at this time. 
He was uncomfortable about his fathers 
affairs, and inchned to regret a half promise 
he had given to Mr. Turold that he would 
retire from the paraffin business. Mr. 
Palmer was nowadays giving his whole 
time to his experiments, and was more and 
more trusting his matters to Howe. And 
Tom had arrived at the conclusion that 
Jim Howe, Mr. Palmer's right-hand man, 
had become a very doubtful sort of cha- 

" Father," said Tom, " it's a wild goose 
you are looking for, or a mare's nest ; but 
even if it's a golden egg, do, for heaven's 

VOL. II. 26 


sake, give it up for the present and come 
back to the shop." 

'' I am on the brink of a discovery," said 
Mr. Palmer, placidly. '' T won't put it aside 
now, even if we are temporarily losing a 

'' Oh, losing — that is not it. But I don t 
like this speculating way of business we are 
drifting into." 

" It has been a speculating, advertising 
business all along. In my early days I had 
frights enough, I can tell you," said Mr. 
Palmer, cleaning his spectacles calmly. 

*' You have big liabilities." 

'' Of course I have." 

" Do you know how big ? " 

*' Of course I do. Jim does at least. He 
and I are one." 

''That is it. Jim may be a capital chap, 
but it is your money he is chucking 
about, and your credit he is staking, not 

" He has trebled our profits in the last 


four years. Jim has a head on his shoulders, 
and no mistake ! What do you know about 
it, Tom ? " 

'' Precious Httle : Jim takes care of that. 
I want to be certain, dad, that you know 
more. I see you signing papers and accept- 
ing responsibihties, and I don't beHeve you 
know what they are about. You are think- 
ing of hydro-carbons. I wish you'd order 
me to overhaul everything, father." 

Mr. Palmer laughed and slapped his son 
on the back. 

'' Thank you, Tom ; but to say the truth, 
I feel more confidence in Jim." 

'' Then I wish you'd take him into partner- 
ship. Free lances are dangerous to every- 
body," urged Tom. 

Mr. Palmer sat down and reflected ; but 
his mind wandered away from Jim Howe. 

''The moment I have solved my problem," 
he said, " I am going to make an offer of 
partnership to Kidson : perhaps sooner, 
Tom. This Boisee monopoly which Jim is 


securing for us will be very apt to shut 
Kidson up straight off; and he's my old 
friend, and I won't ruin him." 

*' Do whatever you like about Kidson," 
said Tom, " but, for heaven's sake, don't put 
your name to that monopoly job till you 
know all about it. I don't believe it's a 
square transaction ! " 

*' I have perfect confidence in Jim," said 
Mr. Palmer, severely. ''He knows my 
principles, and is as scrupulous as I am 
myself; more so, if anything. You are so 
inexperienced, my dear boy, that you don't 
know how things are managed ; and you 
think, like other generous young fellows, that 
all business is trickery, guided by self-in- 
terest, and worked by lies. When you're a 
bit older you'll learn that though it looks all 
much alike to an outsider, there's a way of 
playing fair and a way of playing foul. It's 
a damned uncharitable thing to suppose a 
man is playing foul because you ain't clever 
enough yourself to understand his game ; 


and I won't have you say it of Jim, whom I 
know as well as I know you." 

Tom was not satisfied ; and indeed he had 
succeeded in a little frightening Mr. Palmer. 
The old man did tear himself aw^ay from his 
beloved problem, and for a while w^ent to 
town regularly. But Howe, though he could 
never have compounded a new oil, was in 
some ways a very far cleverer man than his 
principal ; and he had a plausible reply ready 
for every question he was asked. Mr. 
Palmer, though pleased by his son's zeal, 
thought he wanted discretion, and had 
neither business faculties nor discernment of 

" It's a poor enough thing I made of it 
till I lighted on Jim," he said ; '' it's Jim has 
made my fortune for me, and it would be a 
queer reward if I took to distrusting him 
now\ I suppose the partnership I had 
meant for you, Tom, must be his. He 
deserves it, and you, my dear lad, haven't the 
head for it, I see clearly, any more than I 


have myself by rights. You may as well 
please your new family by withdrawing from 
the concern at once and turning your mind 
to something you are better suited for." 

** My new family, as you call It," said 
Tom, " may whistle for me a little longer. 
I mean to hold on to the old one as long as 
I can. You will let me sfo to the West for 
you, father, as a parting job." 

" My dear boy, I don't see the necessity 
for any one to go. Jim was on the spot for 
six months and went Into It thoroughly. 
And the matter Is all settled." 

" No, the contract Isn't signed. I've no 
doubt It's all right, as you and Jim say so; 
but I shan't be easy on my wedding-day,, 
unless either I or you have had a personal 
Interview with those two men In Bolsee city, 
and I am certain we aren't cheatlno^ them." 

'* Cheating them ? Good Lord ! Certainly, 
Tom, I should like you satisfied on that 
point. But I had best go myself. It's a 
long journey, and to do any good when you 


get there, you'd have to stay more than 
ten minutes. Even if you started to-morrow, 
I don't see how you could be back in time for 
your wedding." 

'' I must explain to Lilith," said Tom ; 
''perhaps she'll come with me. No, dad, 
you shan't go. You don't think the expe- 
dition necessary ; and you are in pursuit of 
your wild goose ; and you know you'd never 
find the place. The thing is for my own 
satisfaction, and I'll go myself." 

They settled it so. ]\Ir. Palmer always 
liked to indulge his son's whims ; besides, 
he had taken alarm, for Tom was so very 
much In earnest ; and there was something, 
too, a little suspicious in Howe's manner 
when he heard of the scheme. Perhaps the 
thing did require looking into ; perhaps for 
once In his life Jim had blundered. Mr. 
Palmer talked in an off-hand manner of the 
possibility of the speculation turning out 
badly and losing him a little money; but 
what had really stung him to action had 


been Tom's half-laughing suggestion that 
not on himself but on the two men in Boisee 
city who were trusting him, might the losses 

But what view would be taken of Tom's 
journey at Turold Royal ? One morning the 
young man presented himself before his 
future father-in-law in order to find out. 

Gilbert Turold was in no very good 
humour with Mr. Tom Palmer ; for Edward, 
who had cultivated an acquaintance of late 
with Sir Joseph Kidson and Mr. Howe, and 
various other persons of the same order, had 
been entertaining his kinsman with some 
alarming reports and unpleasing information 
which he had picked up about old Palmers 
speculations and affairs. 

'* I wouldn't believe all that fellow Kidson 
says," said Mr. Turold, rather irritated ; 
" he's a noisy, pushing incendiary. Lilith 
says he has a handsome daughter. Where 
the deuce do these people get their looks 
from '^ I dare say, now, your mother thinks 


Miss Kidson as dangerous a person as I 
consider old Palmer's handsome son." 

They both laughed. 

" I confess," said Edward, *' I think Tom 
Palmer admires the handsome Miss Kidson 
too much. Why, he's as much with her as 
with Lilith ! " 

*' Really, Edward " began Mr. Turold, 

irritated again. 

And at this moment Tom came in, and 
explained about his proposed journey less 
easily than he had intended. It sounded 
a formidable sort of job and a work of 
supererogation, even to himself; and he 
could see his two hearers pricking up their 

"But," said Mr. Turold, impatiently, "I 
thought it was understood, Tom, that you 
were not to be mixed up in these affairs ? " 

'' After my marriage, sir." 

" You might retire a little sooner, I should 
think. What does my daughter say to your 
going off in this way ? " 


" I was going to ask if you would modify 
the agreement a little, and let our marriage 
take place at once." 

" What ! to leave your wife at the church 
door ? " 

'' I hope to persuade Lilith to come to 
America with me." 

*'To go with you?" echoed Mr. Turold 
in amazement. 

" If," interposed Edward, '' there is some 
miscarriage in Mr. Palmer's affairs, the 
question of settlements " 

'' Oh, I didn't mean to imply any serious 
miscarriage," said Tom. 

*' But I understand, Gilbert," continued 
Edward, suavely, "that your consent to the 
marriage at all depends on securing a rather 
more favourable settlement " 

" Yes, yes, yes ; Tom knows all about 
that. But the marriage mustn't be hurried, 
Tom. You must wait the full six months." 

*' I am afraid my father s affairs can t be 
put off, sir. I ought to start next week, 


properly. If our wedding can't be within 
a fortnight, it may have to wait till 

" Certainly an awkward proposition for the 
lover to make to his betrothed," said Edward; 
'*It looks as If he were beo:lnnlno- to have 
doubts. Is this journey an excuse for de- 
ferring your marriage, Mr. Palmer ? " 

Tom was too angry to reply. 

''What do you say, sir ? " he asked Mr. 

'' Oh, the longer it Is put off the better 
pleased I shall be. I wish to heaven, Tom, 
you were beginning to have doubts." 

*' I have none." 

" Lillth has doubts," said Edward; "you 
remember, Gilbert, what she said to me 
yesterday ? " 

Mr. Turold did not remember, but he 

"You misunderstand everything," said 
Tom, hotly, to Edward. " Neither Lilith 
nor I have any doubts." 


" Still, I can't have the marriage hurried/' 
said Mr. Turold. 

''And of course," added Edward, "the 
contingency as to the settlements " 

'' Oh, there's no difficulty about the settle- 
ments," said Tom, angrily, and made his 

As the door rather loudly closed behind 
him, Edward turned to his kinsman and 
said — 

'' I believe that man has a thorough bad 

"■ Nonsense," said Mr. Turold ; '' I only 
wish he had some tangible fault." 

'* I wonder now," continued Edward, 
thoughtfully, "is he as frank as he seems ? 
Certainly to-day he gave me an Impression 
of keeping something back ; and that touch 
of temper showed nervousness — anxiety." 

" What the devil are you hinting at, 
Edward ? " 

" Knowinor those facts I mentioned to 


you, and from what Tom himself admits. 


I am convinced there is something seriously 
wrong with the money affairs. His going 
off in this manner can be explained in two 
ways only : either he is getting tired of 
Lilith, or there is some miscarriage more 
serious than they confess." 

" You exaggerate, Edward. I see nothing 
extraordinary. The fellow^ wishes to help 
his father in a difficulty." 

*' A difficulty ? exactly. Delay is advis- 
able, Gilbert, depend upon it." 

" Oh, to be sure ! You prophesied, 
Edward, that this detestable marriage would 
have fallen to pieces on its own account 
before this." 

'' I believe it is falling to pieces," said 
Edward, calmly ; " all we need is delay." 


fSDWARD VANE had by this time 
^ ' given up his college rooms and re- 
moved all his scientific and professorial 
instruments to his house at Molesworthy, 
where a newly added turret contained every 
convenience for his recreations. Never 
before had he had a haunt thoroughly to 
his taste — shut off from his bustling relatives, 
from inquisitive and intrusive servants, and 
also from provokingly sympathetic college 
acquaintances. A deaf and dumb lad, who 
stoked his furnaces and cleaned his vessels, 
was his only familiar ; for Edward, while dis- 
daining the playthings of other men, was 
half-ashamed of his own occupations, and only 
in seclusion could carry them on to his mind. 


'' I am a man out of date," he said to him- 
self. '' Four hundred years ago I should 
certainly have found the philosopher's stone. 
But this nineteenth century ruins my faith, 
and works without faith are dead. No one of 
my temperament ever made a discovery ; and 
unless a man can invent something new, he 
has no excuse for dabbling in art, or experi- 
menting in science. Even the little job I 
have on hand now is no honour to me. It 
will probably come to nothing, and if it does, 
I have ploughed with another man's heifer, 
and must in honour refuse the harvest." 

As he soliloquized he was alone with the 
doors locked in his turret-room ; which, 
though more orderly than Mr. Palmer's 
laboratory at Silcote Dene, was at this time 
pervaded by the same acrid and detestable 
scent, and had a good many of the same 
materials ready to hand for identical opera- 
tions. Here Edward habitually spent his 
evenings, and always in the place of honour 
before him lay the crumpled and scribbled bit 


of blue paper which Grace had accidentally 
sent among his notes for the magazine 

At last, one night he trimmed a new lamp 
and filled its reservoir with a colourless, mild- 
looking fluid of his own compounding ; and, 
with a smile of triumphant excitement on his 
lips, he applied a match to the wick. In a 
moment the room w^as pervaded by the 
softest, yet the most brilliant, the steadiest 
sunshine : a light as of a cloudless June after- 
noon, yet with that tender tinge of artificial 
colour always so desirable in a ball-room. 
Edward himself was taken aback by the 
beauty of the flame he had produced. He 
watched his lamp for a long time, his heart 
beating with surprise and agitation as he 
reflected on all this new oil might signify to 
himself and also to others. Then he laughed 
a little, and played with the blue paper, 
adding a few hieroglyphics to its scribbles, 
then tossing it carelessly into the fire and 
extinguishing his lamp. 


"■ The man who hit upon it must have 
genius," he said, ''or else on Fortune's cap, 
he's the very button. Yet, as he wrote it down, 
it's of no use except for producing explosions. 
Well, if he has genius (which I haven't), he 
will very quickly think of the little addition I 
have made to his receipt, and he will himself 
light up this gorgeous lamp. Upon my soul, 
it is superb. And now what am I to do with 
it .^ Shall I give it to Grace, who sent me 
the heifer to plough with ? Two years ago 
I believe I should have handed it at once to 
Palmer. Poor old chap ; I should like to 
do it now. He deserves it, I must admit." 

Edward stood for a minute irresolute, his 
hand on his brow, his mind rapidly reviewing 
his present position, his past history, his 
projects for the future. It was not the 
moment in which he could afford generosity 
or even common justice to any one belong- 
ing to Tom Palmer ; so he shrugged his 
shoulders, sat down to his desk, and wrote 
to Sir Joseph Kidson. 

VOL. II. 27 


Next evening, in obedience to Mr. Vane's 
request, the worthy knight presented himself 
at Molesworthy House, feeHng, indeed, a 
good deal pleased by the invitation, for 
though he had sniffed in Luxor at the little 
thoroughbred Edward Vane, he fell under 
his influence here at home. 

Edward received him with the slight 
haughtiness which always frightened Sir 
Joseph into outward assurance and a strong 
inward inclination to absolute surrender. 

'' I must begin by asking you to regard 
this interview as strictly confidential," said 

Sir Joseph bowed graciously. 

*' I presume it relates to my leader in the 
Express f I was afraid you'd be chafed, 
Mr. Vane ; but my well-known principles, 
and the predilections of the town " 

" I don't read the Molesworthy Express^^ 
said Edward, with unblushing falsehood. 
He looked the man up and down, taking his 
measure accurately, and noting the assailable 


points in his moral armour. Very seldom 
was Edward mistaken in his opinion of a 
person's character. 

"You and I are plain men, Sir Joseph; 
and you will like me, I think, to go straight 
to the point ? I wish to speak to you about 
your very charming daughter. I suppose 
you are aware that by this time I know Miss 
Kidson pretty intimately '^ " 

Sir Joseph saw only one construction pos- 
sible to these opening expressions ; he was 
flattered : obviously the man was going to 
propose for Grace. Now, though Miss 
Kidson knew all sorts of great folk, her 
lovers had not as yet issued from their ranks ; 
nor had Tom Palmer (or Turold) come 
forward as her suitor ; sorely against his will, 
Sir Joseph had admitted to himself that to 
waste further hopes on that perverse young 
man would be useless. But to marry the 
girl to Mr. Vane would be to seat her at any 
rate very near the throne of the Turolds, 
possibly, in the end, on the very throne 


itself; for the obstructive lovers, Tom and 
Lilith, might be killed simultaneously In an 
earthquake or drowned at sea, and Edward 
Vane was the next heir. 

Muttering to himself the proverb about 
a bird in the hand excelling two in the bush, 
Grace's father resolved instantly to accept 
the coming proposal ; but he began to speak 
with what he intended for showy and digni- 
fied reluctance. 

'' Ah, ah ! That's it, is it ? My lady and 
I have had our suspicions, Mr. Vane, I must 
confess. Yes, I must confess, we have had 
our suspicions. But as for Grace — Miss 
Kidson herself now " (he shook his head), 
" she's taken up this notion of remaining 
single. I don't hold with the idea myself, 
but it's fashionable among the Advanced 
Women. And as to who the young fellow 
is, Mr. Vane, who's to argue her out of 
it " 

"■ Tom Palmer," said Edward, calmly. 

''And that's exactly what I wished 


myself," cried Sir Joseph, his mind a little 
distracted, " and had talked of a hundred 
times to Jack Palmer, his father, and to 
Tom, and to Gracie too, I believe. Yes, 
yes, she'd have taken him. Well, that's 
over. Tom's a fool, in my judgment. I 
should say you had some chance with Miss 
Kidson, Mr. Vane," said Sir Joseph. 

''I? My dear sir, you mistake me," said 
Edward. '* I have no designs on your 
charming daughter." 

'* Eh ? What ? What .? " cried Sir Joseph. 
''What did you say a minute ago, Mr. Vane ? 
Upon my word, you gave me to under- 
stand " 

" 1 said Miss Kidson and I were intimate 
friends ; we have been corresponding " 

" Correspoitding ! Well, there you are, 
sir ! If you and Miss Kidson have been 
corresponding, Mr. Vane, it's high time for 
Miss Kidson's father to ask what your 
intentions are, sir ! " 

Sir Joseph was decidedly nettled, and was 


beginning to bluster. Edward took him 
with great coolness. 

" Certainly. I have asked the favour of 
this interview, Sir Joseph, in order to 
explain my intentions. What I am about 
to propose will, I believe, be agreeable to 
Miss Kidson, for my intimate acquaintance 
with her has shown me in what direction her 
inclinations lie. As for my own prospects," 
added Edward, smiling coldly, '' I need not 
enter upon them very particularly ; but I 
am engaged to my cousin, Miss Turold." 

" Well, I never ! This beats everything ! " 
exclaimed Sir Joseph. "Is that rascal, 
Tom Palmer, turned loose again, then ? " 

*' I said I was engaged to Miss Turold. I 
did not say Miss Turold was engaged to me." 

" Deuce take me, Mr. Vane, if I am 
able to understand what you say." 

Edward, who had been lounging about 
the room, now drew a chair and sat down 
beside his guest. 

** You had reasons of your own. Sir Joseph,. 


why Tom would have been a convenient 
son-in-law ? " 

" Why, yes ! " He hesitated for a moment, 
wondering if Edward could by any chance 
have a guess about Tom's birth ; then con- 
tinued, " Palmer and I began life together, and 
have always been friendly. I've gone ahead 
of him socially, you know, but his article's 
just a touch better than mine, I'm bound to 
admit, and as we stand up in our shoes to- 
day, he's a richer man than me (though I've 
my doubts as to those games of Howe's, as 
I told you, Mr. Vane ; but then Howe will 
get the sack any day I choose to tell Jack 
all / know of him). Well, Grace and the 
smaller business seemed to me a fair ex- 
change for an everyday chap like Tom and 
the larger business. One son, one daughter ; 
the same trade and friendliness. Palmer 
and Kidson, Kidson and Palmer ; it sounds 
natural enough, / consider." 

'' Very much so, Sir Joseph." 

" But they've had their 'eads turned, those 


Palmers, father and son. It's taken some 
Christian patience to bear it meekly. I'd 
like to see 'em get a good setting down." 
Sir Joseph scratched his head contem- 
platively. '' It riles me to think of a beauty 
like my Grace left on the stalk when Jack's 
boy is fixed to marry that 'igh and 'aughty 
young lady. It appears to me, Mr. Vane, 
that if you and Grace have been corre- 
sponding " 

'* Thank you. Sir Joseph, I understand 
what you would say. But I think it would 
suit us all better if I could marry Miss 
Turold, to whom I have promised myself, 
and if your daughter could have your friend's 
son, Tom Palmer. What do you think .^ " 

*' That I don't see how it's to be worked, 
Mr. Vane," said Sir Joseph, with some 
excitement, however, his old wishes be- 
ginning to reassert themselves. 

'' Miss Turold," explained Edward, '' is to 
marry young Palmer simply because her 
grandfather wants money, and has nothing 


to sell but her. The match is liked by no 
one ; and Tom himself is tired of it. One 
thing is quite certain : it won't come off 
unless the price agreed upon is paid and to 
the minute." 

*' Well, and who's to hinder its being paid, 
Mr. Vane?" 

" You and I, Sir Joseph." 

There was a pause, Edward smoking 

'' I'm blessed if I know what you're driving 
at," said Sir Joseph, feeling rather uncom- 

" Well, come upstairs, and I'll show you," 
replied Edward. 

He took his visitor to the turret. It was 
midnight, and the servants, used to their 
master's late hours, had gone to bed. The 
house was silent, dark, and ghostly, and Sir 
Joseph did not half like it. 

*' Well, I never ! What an extraordinary 
place ! " said he, looking about. '' And what in 
the world's the meaning of it all, Mr. Vane ? 


So long as you were a college professor work- 
ing for your bread, I could understand It, but 
now you've come into your fortune " 

" One can't throw off one's profession in 
a day. But though I call myself professor, 
I never was more or less than the merest 
amateur. You recognize this light, Sir 
Joseph ? " 

'' Odd if I didn't. It's my own. Com- 
bined Kerosine, and a pretty thing too." 

"And this?" said Edward. '* This is 
Palmer's Prepared Paraffin. You tell me 
it's superior." 

'' Not as to light, Mr. Vane. Only as to 

'' If you could get a light even more brilliant 
than yours, safer, cheaper, and cleaner than 
even his, it would supersede both, wouldn't it?" 

'* That's certain. But gas couldn't do it,, 
and I don't believe the electric will either. 
I believe, and so does Palmer, that the 
mineral oils are of vast capabilities," said 
Sir Joseph, with pomposity. 


" Well, look here/' said Edward, removing 
the Combined Kerosine and the Prepared 
Paraffin lamps and lighting his new one. 
** Well ? " he said calmly, as the wick 
gradually caught the flame. 

" Good God ! " gasped Sir Joseph, sinking 
backwards into a chair, when the flood of 
artificial sunshine had filled the room. 
" What, in heaven's name, is it ? What 
is it ? " 

He covered his face with his hand, beads 
of perspiration rolling from his brow. 

" Good God ! " he exclaimed presently, 
" Palmer and me are ruined men. Our 
trade is gone from the day this appears in 
the market. Who's the patentee, Mr. 
Vane ? " 

Edward did not answer at once. He left 
his visitor full time to appreciate the new 
light's splendour. At last he came over 
and spoke with emphasis. 

" Sir Joseph, there is no patent yet. The 
invention is mine. But I have no intention 


of patenting it. I told you I was the 
merest amateur, and in my family we have 
a prejudice against buying and selling. 
What I wish to say to you is this : I will 
make you a present of my discovery." 

" Me ! " gasped Sir Joseph. '' What did 
you say, sir ? Me ? " 

'' But on one condition only," continued 
Edward, calmly. ** Hear it. It is nothing 
formidable. You are not to share this secret 
with Palmer, nor with his son, nor to admit 
them to any of the advantages resulting from 
it, ti7itil Tom Pabne7^ is married to yotir 
datigkter. You will let me have your de- 
cision in three days, Sir Joseph," ended 
Edward, rising and holding out his hand. 

Sir Joseph pushed it away. 

'' But why, sir } What's the sense of 
such an absurd condition ? The whole 
thing is ridiculous. Give it to me ? Why, 
you can make your own fortune out of that 

'* I don't agree with you," said Edward. 


*' In my own eyes, and in the eyes of my 
circle, I should be ridiculous as the inventor 
of an oil ; but I should not be ridiculous 
as Miss Turold's husband, which, with your 
help, is what I propose to become." 

'' And to gain your paltry end you'd make 
me the ruin of Jack Palmer — and he and 
I have been friends since we began life in 
the same shop ? " 

'* You mistake. Sir Joseph. I haven't the 
smallest wish to injure old Mr. Palmer, for 
whom I entertain the heartiest respect. I 
only wish to save his son from an unsuitable 
marriage, which he dislikes himself. I think 
you will find everything fall out as you wish. 
At any rate. Sir Joseph, that's my condition. 
You may take it or leave it. I will give 
you one piece of information, however : 
Palmer himself is on the track of this dis- 
covery, and he hasn't any scruple about 
ruining yott. If you reject my offer, my 
lamp goes into the fire. (No, it won't make 
an explosion even there ; it's the tamest of 


pets now.) And before a year is over, it, 
or something very like it, will appear in 
Palmer s shop — not in yours, Sir Joseph." 

He held out his hand again, and Sir 
Joseph took it this time, but v/ithout cor- 

'' He'd make a precious supercilious son- 
in-law," thought Sir Joseph, stumbling down 
the turret stair on his way out. '' Shop, 
indeed ! It's a long day since either Jack 
Palmer or I kept a shop. Well, I'd a deal 
sooner have Tom in my family than him ; 
let alone that it would be putting my girl 
at the Turold place, and if that wouldn't 
make this chap Vane laugh with the other 
side of his mouth I don't know what would." 


EVERTHELESS Sir Joseph found 
it very hard to make up his mind. 
To use his own phrase, he could not stomach 
the transaction. There was somehow a 
scent of dishonesty about it. 

Yet, surely, the little supercilious chap 
was a gentleman, and would suggest nothing 
actually dishonourable or shabby ! Gentle- 
men were scrupulous on such points, and 
where a gentleman led the way an ill-bred 
man like himself might surely follow. Sir 
Joseph did not perceive that in the matter 
of " following " lay the precise difference 
between himself and Edward, who was quite 
capable of doing a mean thing of his own 
devising, but would not have been dragged 


to it by wild horses at the bidding of any 
one else. 

Edward had no notion himself of how strong 
a temptation he had set before Sir Joseph. 
He knew nothing of the facts which miofht 
make Tom Palmer's wife mistress of Turold 
Royal, the position for which, in her father's 
eyes, Grace was eminently suited. Nor did 
he know^ that all along Joe Kidson had 
been horribly jealous, not of Jack Palmer's 
greater wealth, but of his more inventive 
brains. Jack Palmer had invented his 
Prepared Paraffin ; Joe Kidson had been 
shown his Combined Kerosine. The world 
knew that, and rated Kidson lower than 
Palmer accordingly. What more would not 
the world say if Palmer invented this 
glorious new light ? But, on the other hand, 
how would the world applaud if Kidson 
came out as the inventor ? He could trust 
Edward to keep the secret. Evidently 
Edward despised men who made inven- 
tions, himself included. He would ^ive the 


secret to his ally unreservedly ; in fact, 
would have to do so if he wished the patent 
to be secure. Still, Sir Joseph could not 
stomach the transaction. It would be mean 
to Palmer ; it would be a technical infringe- 
ment of the patent laws, and it would be 
arrogating to himself an honour far from his 
due. Should he do it, or should he not ? " 

He consulted his wife ; but afraid of 
telling too much, he did not put the case 
with any clearness before her, and there was 
no help in her ladyship. Then he spoke to 
Grace : a more sensible woman than her 
mother, and, moreover, concerned in the 
issue at stake. And lo ! Grace's very un- 
expected reply was such as to make his 
temptation, strong before, a thousand times 
stronger ! It became absolutely imperative 
now to secure Tom Palmer (or Turold) as 
her husband ; for to this course Grace 
threatened a horrible alternative, and, ap- 
parently, only one. 

" Papa," said the girl, when he had begun 

VOL. II. 28 


by questioning her a little coarsely about 
her various suitors, *' I have a confession 
to make to you ! " 

Sir Joseph nodded, and thought she was 
going to speak of Tom. Grace would have 
flown in the air first. She continued — 

*' Mamma and you are Evangelicals, papa. 
You have only lately joined the Church of 
England : Calvin ists, I call you. Now, my 
dear father, I made no secret of the fact that 
at a very early age I discovered no Calvin- 
ism could ever satisfy me." 

'' What's all this about, Grace ? " said Sir 
Joseph, impatiently. " You talked a deal of 
damned blasphemous nonsense, I remember, 
and I don't want to hear it again." 

" Papa, you always refused to believe that 
I had thought seriously on religious matters. 
I don't know if yott have done so or not. 
I should have expected a Liberal to carry 
Liberal views into theological questions. 
My mother's Calvinist creed seemed to 
me " 


*' It's all Stuff, and very wicked, pro- 
fane stuff. Go and say your prayers, 

" I did. Yet that did not save me from 
the blackest darkness of atheism." 

'' Grace, of all the conceited, ostentatious, 
feather-brained " 

** Papa, you must hear me. In the course 
of the last year I have been through great 
suffering ; never mind its nature. I had found 
a substitute for religion in benefiting my 
fellow-creatures ; but soon under the pressure 
of sorrow I realized, and quite sickeningly, 
that philanthropy without religion is hollow, 
and that nothing but religion is able to 
console when one is enduring mental 

"All that sort of talk " attempted Sir 

Joseph ; but Grace continued, without allow- 
ing him to interrupt — 

'* Now, I am thankful to say, the cloud 
has lifted. I have been reading at first in 
despair, then with gradually dawning hope, 


the works of the early Fathers, the history 
of the Church, the writings of contemporary 
leaders of the faith. I have understood 
that in the course of nature an inspired 
church is a necessity, and I have seen that 
such a Church exists." 

"Well, well, well," said Sir Joseph, im- 
patiently, " if you mean that you are going 
to attend church again and teach in the 
Sunday school, I'm glad to hear it. Now, 
please, attend to me." 

" What I mean, papa, is this : I will no 
more struggle against the light now that it 
has come, than I could pretend to see when, 
under God's providence, the light was with- 
drawn. I have taken my resolution. I 
am going to profess myself a member of the 
Roman Catholic Church." 

Sir Joseph jumped to his feet, and seized 
her arm, shaking it violently. 

*' What ? " he cried ; '' what do you dare 
to say ? What, miss ? " 

Grace turned rather pale, but she calmly 


released herself, and spoke again in her 
measured and musical tones. 

'' And further, papa, I wish you to know 
that I shall probably enter a nunnery." 

" I will kick you downstairs first," shouted 
Sir Joseph. " Who in the devil's name has 
put this into your head ? A nunnery ? 
Damn you ! " 

*' I have thought it out for myself," said 
Grace, still paler ; ** you, papa, it was who 
bade me use my brains and think for myself." 

''You're just like all the rest of the 
women ; you think wrong. But don't tell 
me it's your own doing. Some Jesuit, some 
priest has been at you. It's that serpent 
Edward Vane ! They told me he was a 
Papist, and you have been corresponding 
with him, you idiot ! " 

" Mr. Vane is, alas ! an infidel ; but it is 
true he first directed my attention to the 
Church in which he was brought up." 

'* In future I shall inspect your corre- 
spondence. It's impropriety. Well, you'd 


better marry your Papist and get out of my 
house. Do you hear me ? " shouted Sir 
Joseph. '* You're to marry him — Vane — and 
have done with it." 

'' I am not going to marry," said Grace, 
with dignity. ** I am convinced that for 
Women the single h'fe is the noblest, and 
now a great wish overpowers me to bind 
my conviction with vows. My whole life 
in the world has become distasteful ; I will 
be the Bride of Heaven." 

" Bride of fiddlestick ! Do you mean a 
nun ? " 

*' Yes," said Grace, firmly, '' a nun." 

Sir Joseph was silent for a moment. 
Then he turned upon her sharply, touching 
her arm again. 

*' It's all because you've been cheated of 
Tom Palmer," he said angrily. 

The sudden and rather brutal allusion was 
too much for Grace, whose high-strung 
composure was always apt to collapse 
suddenly. She turned crimson, then pale 


again, with a swelling rising in her throat. 
She moved to the door, pausing to reply 
with dignity — 

" In a measure, papa, you are right. I 
might have married Tom if he had wished 
it. Now, you will be kind enough never to 
mention the word ' marriage ' to me again." 

Sir Joseph was a little moved, for this 
was the touch of nature which ''makes the 
whole world kin." He put his hand on her 

*' Now, my girl, look here," he said, ''don't 
you be in a hurry. I don't feel certain it's 
all over with Tom yet. Don't you be in a 

Grace went away, and cried over her 
rosary like an ordinary inferior woman. 
And Sir Joseph stood with his hands in 
his pockets, thinking of Edward Vane's 
splendid light. A new temptation and one 
not at all common to man had taken him. 
If he didn't somehow, by hook or by crook, 
recapture Tom Palmer for Grace, this his 


clever beautiful daughter, his pride, his one 
genuinely successful creation, instead of 
becoming the great lady which she deserved 
to be, would vanish away miserably as that 
most corrupt and loathly of all detestable 
things : a Roman Catholic nun. Uncertain 
before. Sir Joseph was now in a fever of 
doubt and agitation. 





NCE Tom Palmer had fairly started 
for the far West, Mr. Turold breathed 
more freely. Insensibly, father and daughter 
settled down to their old comfortable ways 
and were good friends again. Lilith did not 
talk of her lover, except to Geraldine Mount 
Jocelyn. If she wrote him long letters and 
added little things to her trousseau, she yet 
strove her very best for these few months 
in everything to please her father. Mr. 
Turold took her to London for two months, 
and under Lady Caroline's wing Lilith had 


a very gay time. She met with a good deal 
of admiration, and her position as Princess 
Royal was considered of interest. Rumour 
magnified the fame of the Turolds, and, 
indeed, Lilith and her father unconsciously 
magnified themselves, for their name and 
estate were to them important above measure, 
and out of the fulness of the heart, the 
mouth speaketh. Lilith moved through 
society always with a little atmosphere of 
state, always meeting with a little reverence, 
always accepting a little homage, without 
for a moment suspecting that these things 
were a free gift from the world and not 
by any means her right. It was all most 
delightful to Gilbert Turold, who saw in 
his daughter a lovely embodiment of the 
splendour of his race. 

But the world was rather puzzled about 
the plebeian lover. Who was he ? and what 
had become of him ? and why was he never 
mentioned ? He was a myth to every one 
but to Lilith herself; even Gilbert Turold 


and Edward Vane were beginning to forget 
him. And Edward was always at his 
cousin's side, and half the people they met 
believed they were engaged. 

Lilith enjoyed her taste of the season very 
much ; and afterwards she paid a round of 
visits with her father, and then settled down 
with him at home, all perfectly comfortably. 
Ignoring the cause of dissension, they drew 
closer than ever the very real bond which 
united them. But the weeks passed on 
and on ; and the original time fixed for the 
wedding was long past, and Tom's letters 
to Lilith, though no whit less affectionate, 
grew shorter and told less of his doing and 
thinking. For he was immersed in cares 
and anxieties, and had little time for love 
letters, and little to say except business 
details which he knew would not interest 

To Mr. Palmer he did write fully and 
often, but his letters were not cheerful. 
*' I am not satisfied," he wrote first; then, 


" we must prepare for losses ; " then an 
account of a probable lawsuit ; finally, a 
telegram — 

" I have discovered something, and retired from the 
suit. Our claim in this matter is indefensible. Get rid 
of Jim. I am coming home." 

What did all that mean '> Mr. Palmer 
did not know, and could not find out from 
Howe, who was extremely cool and inclined 
to say sharp things of Tom. Mr. Palmer's 
anxieties were well awake now, and he was 
counting the hours till his son's return. 
Nevertheless, his smile was serene and 
benignant as ever, and there was no positive 
alarm on his countenance or in his heart. 
Preparing for losses did not mean so much 
to him just at present, as it might have done 
some other time. He had his secret cause 
of elation. 

Mr. Palmer, on receipt of the telegram, 
put on his best coat and walked up to 
Turold Royal. 


'' Tom is on his way home, my dear," he 
said to Lihth. 

The girl's eye sparkled, but she made 
little remark, for shyness' sake. 

" I hope," said Gilbert Turold, with stiff 
courtesy, "your son has succeeded in the 
task you gave him ? " 

**'Why, no," said Mr. Palmer, a shadow 
crossing his beaming face for a moment, 
'' I can't in honesty say he's succeeded. I 
don't know what to make of it all, and that's 
the fact. Tom was, perhaps, a thought 
young for it, and I'd ought to have gone 
myself. It was a difficult matter." 

Edward raised his eyebrows. 

*' Oh, then it wasn't your wish, it wasn't 
a dire necessity for Tom to have gone ? " 

The simple old man smiled, remembering 
his son's unselfishness. 

'' It was all his own wish, sir," he said 

"Lilith," said Edward, playfully, ^'why 
did he go ? Had you quarrelled ? " 


Lilith coloured and felt vexed. She had 
bidden her lover do his errand, if he thought 
it right, and had never doubted his good 
faith for a moment. But she had cried at 
the parting, and then had laughed and 
begged him not to fall in love with some 
charming American girl, cleverer and 
prettier and better dressed than herself. 
Edward's cynical suggestion vexed her, 
especially as it was made in Mr. Palmers 

When the old man had gone, Gilbert 
Turold hid behind a newspaper, greatly 
annoyed at the prospect of the enemy's 
return. Edward said to him in a low voice, 
behind the St. James s Gazette : 

" I call it unpardonable in that old chap 
not to confess frankly that he has lost his 

Then he sauntered towards Lilith and 
stood looking at her dolefully. The girl 
was not thlnkino- of her cousin ; though 
momentarily vexed with him, she nowadays 


regarded him as a staunch ally, not at all 
as Tom's rival. She knelt presently by her 
father, and pushed his Gazette away. 

'' Papa dear, Tom is coming home ; and 
you are going to promise me not to be 
cross with us any more. And — you are 
going to promise another thing," con- 
tinued Lilith, '' that our wedding may be at 
once. At once, papa dear. Edward ! " — she 
turned to her cousin appealingly — " do get 
him to promise." 

'* If you take my advice, you'll see Tom 
first," said Edward, dryly. 

''Yes, yes," echoed Mr. Turold ; ''let us 
see Tom first." 

" It's always the lady who settles the 
day," said Lilith. 

" Not in this case," returned Edward, 
*' or the gentleman wouldn't have run away 
from it." 

"Edward, don't, please, say such stupid 
things. You know Tom hated it, and was 
obliged to go." 


'' Of course he said so to yo7i. He has 
certainly stayed a long time." 

Lilith turned her back on her cousin 

" Papa, I want you to promise, because I 
know quite well that Tom's first words to me 
will be, * we must be married at once now/ 
and I want to be able to answer, without any 
reservation at all, ' Yes, dearest, yes/ " 

Mr. Turold said nothing, and tried to get 
his paper up again. Edward came over 
smiling, and holding in his hand a shabby 
little glove of Lilith's, which he had found 
on the table. 

" A bet, LIHth, a bet to swell the 
trousseau. I'll give you three dozen of 
the longest and the best, if those are Tom's 
first words to you on landing/' 

Lilith pushed the glove away. 

" Edward, what do you mean by these 
dull jokes ? Go away. Do you suppose 
I would make bets about anything Tom 
does or says ? Or that I shouldn't be quite 


satisfied with it, whatever it is ? " she ended 

" What Edward means, my dear," said 
Mr. Turold, soothingly, " is that if there is 
some little cloud over Mr. Palmer's affairs, 
you would not find your grandfather so 
ready " 

" Oh, what has grandpapa to do with it ? " 
cried Lilith ; " it would make no difference 
to Tom and me." 

" For my part," said Edward, not smiHng 
now, but looking at the girl with sad eyes 
full of cruel kindness, " I am not thinking 
of money difficulties. I am dreading others. 
Upon my honour, Lilith, I can not com- 
prehend his having left you in this way, 
his dilatoriness in returning, his leaving you 
to learn from Mr. Palmer " 

" Edward, be quiet ! I can't bear it ! " 
cried Lilith. '* Papa, do speak ! " she said, 
flying to his arms. 

He threw away his newspaper and clasped 
her in them. 

VOL. II. 29 


*' My dear little girl ! " he said fondly, 
'' my poor dear little girl ! That's enough 
now, Edward," he added peremptorily. 

But what were they pitying her for ? 
Lilith really did not know ; but some sort 
of spurious self-pity rose in her own heart. 
Could it be possible that Tom had met 
the charming, clever, beautifully dressed 
American girl with whom she had threatened 
him ? and did Edward know something 
about it ? 

The fortnight that followed was wholly 
discomfortable to everybody. Lilith could 
settle to nothing, but hung restlessly about 
the windows listening to the blasts of 
autumn's wind tearing down the leaves 
and whistling round the angles and courts 
of the old house. To add to the general 
feeling of uneasiness, old Charles Turold 
was in a thorough bad humour, and seemed 
intent upon quarrelling with everybody. 

"■ Edward Vane has been here, Gilbert," 
he cried, " saying the match is as good as 


broken off. Ym not going to be opposed 
in this way. If your girl is false and 
doesn't take the man I've chosen for her, 
she shall repent, and so shall you, you 
ungrateful ass ! " 

''If the match is off," said Gilbert, ''it is 
neither Lilith's doing nor mine." 

" Is the fellow trying to jilt her, then ?" 
roared the old man. " What, in the devil's 
name, did you let him escape for ? " 

" He is raving," thought the son ; " but 
how provokingly sane he keeps on other 
topics ! " 

Nor did Lilith find any more comfort in 
the old despot than her father did. 

" Grandpapa," she said coaxingly, " Tom 
is on his way home now. And papa — is 
just as bad as ever. I think there's a sort 
of crisis coming. Whatever happens, dear 
grandpapa, you won't desert Tom and me ? " 

He looked at her with his keen and 
vigilant eyes, in which was no faint sign of 


'* On his way home, is he ? There are 
storms about now. It would give me the 
greatest possible pleasure to hear that the 
fellow had gone to the bottom of the 

'* Oh, grandpapa ! " shivered Lilith, who 
had indeed trembled all night listening to 
the hurricane, and thinking of her dear lover 
on the ocean ; and she sighed and told her- 
self, " Every one is against us now. But 
courage ! it will, it must soon be over 

At length came the day of Tom's arrival, 
and Lilith appeared at breakfast with her 
hat on, and said she was going to meet 
him. Mr. Turold sipped his coffee, looking 
at her over the edge of the cup, in the 
silence which to Lilith was more chafing 
than open opposition. 

" I think Edward will come with me, 
papa," she said, with an imploring look at 
her cousin, whose attitude was still that of 
Mr. Facing-both-ways. 


" I — well, you know, Lilith, to say the 
truth, it seems to me a chance if Tom will 
like your going." 

'' But I know he will like it ! " said the 

She was overruled. There was a solemn 
Turold ceremony on hand for the middle 
of the day : the taking of the Wroth Silver. 
Lilith was to represent her grandfather, and 
was told, truly enough, that time would not 
admit of her journey to London. 

" Tom will, I suppose,'' said Edward, 
''come at once to ^^^ your 

" How can I talk to him for the first 
time in the middle of all those people '^ " 
said Lilith, " and there is plenty of time. 
I am sure there is. We could be back at 

'' If Mr. Palmer had chosen to fulfil his 
engagement to you, my love," said her 
father, "he would have been here to-day 
in a recognized position. As matters stand 
— a little equivocally, eh .^ — I for my part 


should prefer his not arriving till our cere- 
mony is over." 

Lillth said no more. Tom had not abso- 
lutely asked her to meet him, and she felt 
she could explain to him ; explanations 
were impossible with her father, who seemed 
determined to misunderstand everything. 
And why had Edward given up helping her ? 

The Wroth Silver ceremony was im- 
portant to the Turolds : one of the ancient 
customs which marked the fame of the 
family. . Payment was made by fifteen 
parishes as an acknowledgment of old 
Charles Turold's claim to certain waste 
lands and his kindness in letting cattle 
pass over certain roads and fields. The 
ceremony took place every five years, and 
was matter of interest to the whole county. 
To Lillth it seemed little less majestic than 
the opening of Parliament by her gracious 

She dressed herself very prettily in a pale 
thick dress, heavily trimmed with chinchilla, 


her mother's legacy. The fur looked suit- 
able to the young princess on a public 
occasion, and her father nodded approval. 
She drove him to the appointed place in her 
own pony-carriage ; followed by a miniature 
procession of carriages, and with an outrider 
in the person of Lord Mount Jocelyn, who 
trotted on a prancing chestnut by Lilith's 
side. For some distance they climbed a 
narrow lane up a steep and densely wooded 
hill. The day was fine after the storm and 
the sun shone brightly; everywhere a^utumn's 
amethyst mist softly veiled the reddened 
beeches and oaks, and bathed the distant 
hills in a deep transparent blue. 

At last they reached a bare space on the 
brow of the hill, whence was a wide prospect 
over the surrounding country, Turold Royal 
lying below, with its "Undulating surface and 
noble trees, the Court itself partly visible on 
the right. Five years ago, Lilith, a slip of 
a girl, with a keen, awakening interest in her 
life, had looked round and round over her 


inheritance, admiring it, loving it, exulting 
in it ; and had felt a childish delight in the 
fact that from this point there was no house 
anywhere in sight but her own. Now there 
was another ; a great, staring, red villa, naked 
and obtrusive. Undeniably it spoiled the 

On this bare-topped hill with the wide 
prospect, was a broken cross and a few 
lichen-covered, ruined stones, sole remains of 
a monastic establishment of some distinction 
in the hoar backward and abysm of time. 
Behind it were mounds, said to be the 
graves of Sir Ffulke and Sir Gilbert Turold, 
crusading heroes who had died at the abbey; 
and a little behind these again was a stone 
marking the limit of the hundred. Here 
stood a lawyer in wig and gown; around him, 
in unwonted smock frocks, fifteen repre- 
sentatives from the parishes of the hundred ; 
behind them a crowd of neighbours and 
spectators, all with smiling and curious faces. 
Lilith left her carriage ; and, escorted by her 


father and followed by her suite, advanced 
to the boundary stone. The lawyer, watch 
in hand, waited till the hands pointed to 
noon ; then waved the people aside so as to 
exhibit clearly the abbreviated shadow falling 
northward from the cross. Then in a strident 
voice he read the long-winded charter of 
Wroth Silver given in the time of Richard II. 
Lilith, representing her grandfather, was 
next led to the foot of the cross, where she 
took her seat, blushing a good deal and 
glancing at her father to see if she were 
properly playing her part. And now the 
representatives of the villages advanced in 
turn, knelt before the Princess Royal, kissed 
her hand, and laid in it silver coins, which 
Lilith transferred to a green brocaded bag 
of great size and antiquity, held for her by 
the lawyer. When she had amassed iSi". 5^., 
partly in crown pieces, partly in silver 
pennies, partly in shillings and sixpences, 
a little girl, dressed like the bag in green 
brocade, presented a bouquet of oak leaves 


and acorns, and Lllith kissed the little face 
under the close green cap with much grace, 
and so ended the ceremony. Miss Turold 
rose, and the spectators, high and low, 
pressed round to touch her hand, and to 
offer rather meaningless congratulations ; and 
Lilith smiled and blushed and looked pleased 
and pretty, delighting her father. 

But in her heart the princess was uneasy. 
Where was Tom ? Surely he must have 
arrived by this time ? She had left word 
with Yates that her lover was to follow her 
to the cross on the hill. She scanned the 
crowd again and again, but there was no 
sign of the returned traveller. Could any- 
thing have happened ? 

Gilbert Turold now rose, and in the name 
of the lord of the hundred invited the 
lawyer, and the brocaded girl with the 
brocaded bag, and the representatives, and 
all friends and neighbours, to a collation at 
Turold Royal, whither the whole party 
trundled away as quickly as possible In 


some disorder; headed, however, by the 
lawyer In his wig, and the fifteen men in 
smocks, and the Httle girl like Judas carry- 
ing the bag, who had all some sense of the 
solemnity fitting the occasion. Soon they 
were all assembled in the Banqueting Hall 
of the Court, where was displayed all the 
antique silver on the polished oak tables, 
and where on the dais was old Charles 
Turold himself in his wheeled chair, his 
son and Lilith standing beside him. The 
quests were seated in the ancient order, 
some above, some below the massive silver 
salt-cellars ; and grace and an adaptation of 
the Bidding Prayer were recited by Mr. 
Trevylyan. Then the old man wished them 
all good day and prosperity in the next five 
years, and withdrew. Gilbert took his seat 
in the post of honour, with Miss Turold on 
one side and the little green Judas on the 
other, and the banquet began. There were 
still a few vacant chairs, and Lilith kept 
one near herself unoccupied, still hoping 


that Tom might come. But the breakfast 
pursued its course, and then came toasts and 
speeches, till the little girl fell asleep and 
Princess Lilith thought her back would 
break in two for very weariness. And then 
came a great exhibition of the house and 
parade of its treasures ; and the long hours 
passed slowly on, but still there was no sign 
whatsoever of Tom Palmer. 

In the late afternoon she sent Edward to 
inquire at Silcote Dene if anything had 
been heard of the traveller. He brought 
back a verbal message from a servant : ''Mr. 
Tom had arrived by the 12.6, and at four 
had gone to town with Mr. Palmer." 

" I am so sorry, Lilith," said Edward ; 
'* don't stone your unfortunate messenger." 

Weary of ceremony and very tired, Lilith 
succumbed. " Oh, I did think he'd have 
come to see me first ! " she exclaimed in her 
disappointment. And Edward shrugged his 
shoulders, and uttered irritating words of 
false sympathy. 


Lilith came to dinner in the sort of simple 
white frock which Tom had first loved her 
in, and with his diamonds round her throat. 
She was a strangely dressed figure, but she 
cared neither for Lady Mount Jocelyn's 
laugh nor for Lady Caroline's frown. And 
the slow hours passed on, and there was 
dinner and music and a little dancing, but 
still Tom never came, nor sent one word of 
excuse, nor one word of love. And when 
Lilith went to bed that night she cried with 
weariness and disappointment. 


[g^OM had landed, yes, with his pockets 
'^^' full of presents for his sweetheart, 
and his eyes bright with expectation as he 
scanned the strangers who w^ere there to 
receive their friends. But it was Mr. 
Palmer who met him, not Lilith. It was 
much what he had expected ; still Tom 
was disappointed. They started homewards, 
missing a train, and sitting for an hour at 

''It's a rare pleasure to me to have you 
back again, Tom," said Mr. Palmer; ''and 
I've a piece of good tidings for you, that will 
more than make up for any bad news you 
bring me." 


'' Not the mare's nest, father ? " 

'' Hush ! " said Mr. Palmer, his face 
beaming, '' not one word till we get 
home ! " 

Then they talked of Howe. 

** He is dishonest," said Tom. '' You 
must get rid of him." 

" If he's been dishonest — my dear lad, I 
can't bear to hear you utter such a thing — 
I'd sooner employ him myself than hand 
him on to any one else ; and it's clear I can't 
cut my wife's own niece's husband adrift 
after he has served me faithfully for years. It 
was my fault for putting temptation in the 
poor fellow's way. We'll go into the matter 
with him thoroughly, Tom : you and I and 
he, privately. * If thy brother sin against 
thee, tell him his fault between thee and him 
alone! Eh ? ' If he repent, thou hast gained 
thy brother.' I could never endure to be 
the first to cast a stone at a man. I'd bear 
any loss sooner." 

Tom was silent. 


When they reached home, the lover re- 
fused to see or do anything till he had been 
to Lilith. Mr. Palmer could not give him up 
yet, and they went together to Turold Royal. 

By this time it was quite half-past two ; 
and Yates met them with the information 
that all the family, and all the quality, were 
at the banquet in the Great Hall with the 
dais, and the gallery, and the vaulted roof; 
and he set the door ajar to let them look 
in. Tom saw what seemed to him like a 
wedding-breakfast, with Lilith in the most 
imposing place, her father on one side and 
Edward Vane on the other, while some- 
body's health was being drunk with effusion. 
Yates, who was rather tipsy, gave a grandilo- 
quent account of the day's doings ; describing 
Miss Turold as a Virgin Queen surrounded 
by a princely court of feudal retainers, like 
the history of England ; and wouldn't Mr. 
Palmer please to come in ? every one being 
welcome to-day, high or low, and Hail Fellow 
well met ; and to eat the first of the doe 


venison, and to drink the loving cup out of 
the golden tankard. 

Tom saw below the salt the young man 
from the Molesworthy ironmonger's in a 
spotted necktie \ but he also saw Lilith, all 
silver and lace, and Edward in a frock-coat, 
with delicate flowers in his button-hole. He 
thought of his own travelling suit, and of the 
many eyes which would watch the greeting 
between himself and his bride. Under the 
circumstances he did not feel absolutely 
secure of a welcome. 

''Tell Miss Turold I came," he said to 
Yates, "and that I will return later when 
this business Is over." 

Yates gave the message to Edward, who 
did not pass it on. Should Lilith inquire 
into it, Yates's Intoxication would be an 
explanation of any miscarriage. 

"Now, Tom, now!" said Mr. Palmer, 
bringing his son home again. 

It was his hour of triumph now, and the 
lover smothered his private impatiences. 

VOL. II. 30 


'' Mother, mother ! " shouted Mr. Palmer, 
till his wife had run downstairs ; and then, 
all three, they went into the laboratory 
together, and Mr. Palmer, from sheer force 
of habit, rolled up his sleeves and put on his 
leather apron. '' It's new to mother too, 
Tom," he said. " I waited to show you both 
at once. Sit you down there ; and, Polly, 
don't you be touching nothing. There's 
nothing safe in this room ; if it ain't ex- 
plosive, it's poison ; and if it ain't poison, 
it's dirt ; and with one of them you'll do a 
mischief to yourself or to some one else. 
Tom, shut down the shutters, and block all 
the chinks with the sand-bags. Look where 
you're going first, and don't try to get back 
to your chair in the dark or you'll be 
knocking something over. Now, hold your 
tongues, the two of you." 

He lighted a lamp, his fingers shaking 
with excitement, and for a moment left the 
room in darkness, except for a faint glimmer 
at the wick. 


" It's a poor thing," laughed Tom, his hand 
on Mr. Palmer's shoulder — "a dead failure." 

" You may turn it up yourself," said Mr. 
Palmer, guiding his son's fingers to the lamp. 
Then the room filled with the same ex- 
quisite artificial sunshine by which Edward 
Vane had dazzled Sir Joseph Kidson. 

'' Father, father ! " exclaimed Tom, *' we 
knew you'd do it ! but who ever dreamed 
of anything like this ! " 

Mr. Palmer sat down on his wooden stool, 
holding the hands of his wife and his son, 
and he laughed in sheer delight till the tears 
ran down his cheeks. 

''That's worth something, Tom, I take 
it ! " he said ; " and I've kept the secret, my 
lad, that you might be the first person to see 
it, after all the trouble you've had for me this 
six months. I'm a made man, Tom; and 
don't you look glum over the Boisee job. 
If Mr. Turold takes fright about that, I give 
you leave to tell him of this little wedding 


" No telling could give a notion of it," 
said Tom ; '' it's the kind of light has been 
seen only in dreams before. Can you make 
an unlimited supply, father ? " 

" As long as there's petroleum to be had," 
said Mr. Palmer, rubbing his hands. '' Bless 
you, I ought to have made it years ago. 
It's pretty near the same mixture as the 
Prepared Paraffin. What stuck me was 
getting the better of its explosiveness. I 
had this light to all appearance in March, 
but so dangerous, I nigh blew up the house 
a dozen times ; and the remedy so simple, 
I laughed like I'm laughing to-day when I'd 
hit on it. It's safe as a church now. And 
it's a new principle lamp too for economy's 
sake, and so easy a child can manage. 
Smell it, Tom. Ain't it a pleasant scent ? 
Fit for Miss Lilith's pocket-handkerchief, 
eh ? It's good-bye to candles for ever. 
Look at my little hand-lamp there. Ain't 
that a pretty toy ? Lights up in a moment, 
and will burn for forty-eight hours on end. 


Then there's cooking. I've a design for a 
stove to boil a kettle in five minutes. Of 
course it burns a little hot. That's why 
I don't feel so sure of getting the theatres 
as I do the ship-signals and the lighthouses, 
and the private dwellings and the street 
lamps. The incandescent light is its rival ; 
but — I may be partial — I'd say my light beats 
it in brilliance and pleasantness, and at 
present, at least, it can be produced at a 
tenth of the expense." 

Tom was gravely turning the wick up and 
down and trying experiments with wondering 

'• I should say there was absolutely no 
question that it beats every one of the old 
lights to fits," he said. '' Td like to be you, 
dad, to have invented it. And you have 
told no one ? " 

'' Not a soul. But, Tom, remember what 
I said to you : we've got to share this with 
Kidson. I'd never forgive myself if I 
damaged my oldest friend. He mustn't 


even feel an anxiety. Before I do a thing 
about the patent, we'll go to him, Tom, and 
tell him what's going to happen, and offer 
him partnership. There'll be plenty for you 
and Lilith. Little Grace must have share 
of the good things going." 

*' Of course," said Tom, heartily. 

Some one was knocking, and a voice was 
calling, " Mr. Palmer, sir ! there's a telegram, 

'' Go and get it, Tom. No, stay ; we'll 
put the light out first. It's from Jim, about 
the agreement with Stirke." 

He dawdled, playing with his dear new 
lamp and chatting about trifles. Tele- 
grams were no rarity in the business-man's 

" I suppose, Tom, you'll say I ought to 
have seen Stirke and Ransom myself Jim 
has got that matter into his hands com- 
pletely. The fact is, for the last two years 
I have been making an idol of my lamp. 
I've prayed against it many a time ; but 


there, it's all turned out for the best. I'm 
thinking I'll rebuild the church steeple now 
and give 'em a new painted window. That's 
like the box of ointment the woman gave 
our Lord. But I've always had a sympathy 
too with the men who rebuked her and 
spoke up for the poor. Maybe He'll let me 
build almshouses for His poor too, to keep 
'em out of the workhouse. I always remem- 
ber how my old grandfather died in the 
workhouse, cut off from his old wife, and 
looked down upon ; and here am I with my 
carriage, and everything the heart of man 
could covet. I think the Lord would see 
nothing but gratitude in my heart, Tom, if 
I tried to make Him some acknowledg- 

" My notion," said Tom, " would be a new 
organ in your church, especially if I'm to 
play on it. Now I'll fetch the telegram." 

He opened it leisurely while Mr. Palmer 
was taking off his apron and still thinking 
of steeples and almshouses. 



" Good God, father ! Attend to this ! " 
exclaimed Tom, seizing his arm ; and he read 
aloud : 

*' Come at once. The works are on fire." 


OM, darting off to London with Mr. 
Palmer, confided a message for Lilith 
to his mother ; the good lady was dis- 
tracted and forgot all about it. Consequently 
Miss Turold spent a lonely evening and 
cried when she went to bed. Next morning 
she came down late to breakfast, afraid to 
look at her letters, lest there should be none 
from her lover. The fear was justified. 
Tom had taken no notice of her existence, 
and her toast and sardines tasted to poor 
Lilith like gravel. Edward and Mr. Turold 
had already finished their breakfast, and the 
former had got hold of a newspaper. 

** Great fire in the city," he read out ; and 


then, " Bless me ! Lilith, Gilbert, listen ! 
' Palmer's Prepared Paraffin Works burned 
to the ground.' " 

'* Edward ! " cried LUIth, snatching the 
paper from her cousin, *' has anything hap- 
pened to Tom ? " 

Edward relinquished the paper, but both 
he and Mr. Turold read over the girl's 
shoulder, she being far too much frightened 
to understand a word. 

*' ' Great loss of life,' " read Edward in his 
measured tones. " Turn over the page, 
Lilith. Dear me ! how dangerous these 
places are. Of course. It would burn like 
a tar barrel." 

" Papa, I can't bear It ! " cried Lilith. 
*'0h, papa, tell me the worst at once. Is 
he dead ? Is he burned to death ? " 

*' No, my child, no," said Mr. Turold. 
'' Tom is all right you may be quite sure. 
Here is the list of fatalities — all /the names 
pleasantly unfamiliar." 

He spoke very kindly. For all his dislike 
to Tom he felt that to read in the Times 


of his death by fire would be a most dis- 
agreeably tragic method of riddance. 

Lilith sat down again, crying softly and 
partly reassured. 

" This wull mean further losses to old 
Palmer," said Edward. " I shouldn't wonder 
if it ruined him." 

** Isn't there one word about Tom, papa ? " 
asked Lilith. 

Mr. Turold read aloud a long account of 
the disaster, written in the gloating style of 
a reporter, and only fragmentarily interesting 
to Lilith. The fire had originated in the 
room of Mr. Howe the manager, who had 
been consuming papers in his grate at an 
early hour. He had left at noon, and at 
three smoke was observed issuing from one 
of his windows. The fire was soon in pos- 
session of the adjoining apartments, and 
had spread to the stores and warehouses, 
with their " intolerably inflammable contents." 
'' Soon everywhere combustion reigned." 
And so on for three columns. At last came 
mention of Tom. 


" Mr. Palmer and his son (the latter only just returned 
from the United States) were telegraphed for at once, 
and were soon on the spot, rendering material assistance 
by their energy and presence of mind. Mr. T. Palmer 
worked with the firemen, and himself gallantly rescued 
two of the workmen from a horrible death, finally sink- 
ing insensible from the smoke among the burning rafters, 
from which he was with difl5culty removed and put into 
the hands of the doctors in attendance. Mr. Howe was 
not seen on the premises, and it is now conjectured that 
this gentleman is among the missing." 

"Papa," interrupted Lilith, ** don't — don't 
read that. Tell me what it says of Tom." 

Edward rose. 

'' I will go to Silcote Dene for you, Lilith, 
and inquire." 

The girl sprang up gratefully. 

" Take me with you, please — please, dear 

They went all three ; Lilith, with pale 
face, and straining eyes occasionally turned 
for an anxious perusal of her father's face. 
She was taken rapidly to her lover's home, 
only to learn that he was not there, and that 
Mrs. Palmer had been summoned to join her 


husband and son at a hotel in London, 
Mr. Palmer — or was it Mr. Tom ? — being 
too much knocked up for the railway 

*' Oh, papa, papa ! " cried Lilith ; '' let me 
go there, then. I know it is Tom who is 
hurt ! I must go and learn what has 

" Edward shall go, my love," suggested 
her father, ''and telegraph to you." 

" Oh no. I must go. You forget I 
haven't even seen him ! " 

-Well— well— " said Mr. Turold, dis- 
regarding Edward's shrug of disapprobation. 

So they toiled up to London, the three 
of them, in the train ; and strangers wondered 
a little what had happened to the pale and 
frightened girl. 

" I think we have made a mistake," said 
Edward, as their cab stopped at an old- 
fashioned commercial inn in Calthorpe Street, 
known to Mr. Palmer from his boyhood ; 
'• this is no place for Lilith." 


" Never mind," said Mr. Turold, still kind 
to his daughter. 

" Oh, Edward, do make haste," said Lilith ; 
" send up a message that I am here." 

A dirty-looking waiter in his shirt-sleeves 
came forward, and vanished again with 
Edward's message. 

" He says Tom is all right," said Edward, 
returning to the cab. '' I wouldn't get out, 
Lilith, till he comes down." 

She shut her eyes and leaned back with 
a sigh of relief. He was all right ! But 
Edward, as a matter of fact, had sent to 
Tom only the bald information that some 
friends would be glad if he could see 
them, without giving any names at all. 
The dirty waiter reappeared, and said, 
bluntly : 

'' The gent says he's engaged, and can't 
attend to no else at present." 

" Well ! " exclaimed Edward, with indig- 
nation ; " we can go home after that, I should 


" Papa," said Lilith, sitting up, '' I am 
certain he does not understand it is I." 

Mr. Turold took a card and wrote on it, 
'' Come and speak to Lilith for one moment." 

" Take that to Mr. Thomas Palmer," he 
said dryly ; and Edward shrugged his 
shoulders again. 

That message brought Tom at once. His 
arm was in a sling ; his hair singed ; there 
was a red mark across his brow, and his 
clothes, after the night's work, had a dis- 
hevelled appearance, not lost upon Edward, 
who had never looked untidy in his life not 
even when he fell into the hole at Koorneh. 

In a cab, at the door of a tenth-rate hotel, 
a person in dirty shirt-sleeves looking on, 
her hero in this damaged condition, which 
was yet far from romantic disablement, it 
was not an ideal meeting after a half-year's 
separation ; and, indeed, though Tom smiled 
at her lovingly, his expression quickly settled 
back into that of irrelevant consideration 
which it had worn as he descended. 


** Dearest ! " said Tom, taking- her hand 
and pressing it between both of his. 

But the girl could not utter a word, could 
only look at him with piteous eyes ; and 
there were too many listeners ; and Tom had 
too many things to say, so that he knew not 
where to begin. Mr. Turold came to the 

" This has been a bad job, Tom. You're 
not hurt ? We read of your prowess in the 
paper, and this child took fright. None 
the worse, eh ? " 

'' Tm all right," said Tom ; *' my father 
is rather done up, I am afraid. He has 
hurt his eyes " 

Lillth Interrupted. 

"Tom, your arm is burned. I know it. 
And the paper said you were nearly 
smothered. I mus^ know, Tom." 

" Oh, a miss is as good as a mile in being 
smothered. My arm Is a little burned — 
nothing to signify." 

** I have been so unhappy ! " sighed Lillth. 
" Can't we come In, Tom ? " 


He hesitated, for he had a hundred and 
fifty things to do ; the doctor and the insur- 
ance agents were here ; and there was no 
waitinQf-room suitable for LiHth. 

'' You are insured, I suppose ? " said 
Mr. Turold, understanding these difficulties 
better than Lilith did. 

" Oh yes, partially. But I fear it seems 
doubtful if we can establish our claim. 
They have strict rules, these insurance 
people, and it looks as if Howe had let 
himself forget them yesterday. Tm afraid 
I ought to go back," said Tom, rubbing his 
forehead with a dreary smile ; " it wouldn't 
do to offend the agents, and my father is 
not able to see them himself." 

Lilith was hardly listening ; she would have 
sympathized about poor Mr. Palmer's hurts, 
but claims and agents and insurance seemed 
to her dry business details, pure " men's mat- 
ters," for which her ears were not required. 

" We mustn't keep you," said Edward, 

VOL. II. 31 



" Oh, Tom ! couldn't you come home with 
us ? " exclaimed Lilith, impulsively, thinking 
of poor Tom's weariness and the joy she 
would take in dressing his wounded arm. 
She regretted the words at once on hearing 
his answer. 

*' My dearest, how could I ? " said Tom, 
almost hurt. 

They parted, and Lilith leaned back in 
her corner and closed her eyes again, hoping 
no one would speak. 

" I'm afraid Tom was thinking more of his 
insurance than of you, Lilith," said Edward. 


OM had known no more of the hre 
after beinor lifted senseless out of the 
smoke, his hand still clutching the charred 
form of the now dead boy he had been carry- 
ing when the faintness overcame him. 

He opened his eyes in the private ward 
of a hospital, and for some time was content 
to lie quiet, wondering dreamily where he 
was and if anything were the matter. On 
the whole he rather fancied himself back 
in his steamer cabin expecting daylight and 
the coming of Lilith. Then came recollec- 
tions of his father's beautiful lamp and of 
Lilith sitting like a queen among flower- 
decked guests, and he himself shut out ; 


then a sense of grander blaze than even 
that of the new lamp, as though Prepared 
Paraffin had burst out with a fury at the 
thought of being superseded. 

After which came a nurse to* administer 
restoratives and to dress his arm ; and then 
Tom fell asleep for several hours, and woke 
comparatively restored. The doctors wanted 
to keep him quiet in the hospital, but Tom 
was far too restless to agree, and soon Mr. 
Palmer came to see him and to take him 
away. Half asleep and in the dim light of 
a wintry morning, the son did not at first 
notice more amiss with the old man than a 
kind of tremulous fatigue. 

" Thank God ! you are spared to me, 
Tom," said Mr. Palmer, kneeling by the 
bedside. '' Oh, my boy, my boy ! If I had 
lost you ! " 

'' Dear dad, I wasn't even in danger, that 
I know of. But that poor little chap I 
dropped back into the blazes ! I knew he 
was done for when I felt my head going. I 


can think of nothing else. Was he the only 
one, I wonder ? " 

'' I would to God he were the only one, 
Tom ! And what's worse, there are some of 
them who. are not dead, but burned into 
living cinders. Six poor wretches got down 
to the water and jumped into it — the worst 
they could do, but mad with pain, Tom. I 
have just seen them : more like charred logs 
than human creatures." 

'' Good God ! " said Tom, ashamed of his 
own slight injuries, and beginning to dress. 

" What about Howe '^. " he asked. 

** Burned, Tom. Burned to death, our 
poor old Jim. I have been to Louisa ; I 
had to tell her. It's a hard thing to tell a 
woman her husband has been killed in your 
service. She and her children must make 
their home with us ; and, Tom, never you 
let her guess the poor fellow was come under 
a cloud lately. We'll forget all about that 

'' Poor old Jim ! " said Tom; " in a way, it's 


the best thing could have happened for his 
reputation. But he must have been mad, 
or drunk, or something, for, according to 
PhlHpps, he dehberately set his desks in 
a blaze. What was he after, I wonder ? " 

They left the hospital together, and Tom 
became aware gradually that Mr. Palmer, 
while posing as the uninjured person, was 
leaning on him more and more heavily, or 
crouching in the corner of the vehicle, his 
eyes shaded with his hand. Once something 
like a cry broke from him. 

"We'll just go home to mother," he said, 
though he had designed fifty works of 
necessity first. 

But they did not get farther than the little 
inn in Calthorpe Street ; and Tom asked for 
a room, and noticed how the old man groped 
his tottering way to it. 

*' Let me look at your eyes, dad," said 
Tom, when Mr. Palmer had sunk into a 
chair, with a long stifled groan. 

" That's It," he murmured, " my old eyes. 


For the last ten minutes they have been 

One elance was enouofh for Tom. He 
sent to the nearest doctor and telegraphed 
for his mother. 

All the rest of the day, in a darkened 
room, bandaged and in agony, Mr. Palmer 
lay, holding his wife's hand ; and Tom went 
in and out looking after everything. He 
engaged temporary offices, got the men 
together, made inquiries and investigations, 
and took everything on his own shoulders, 
his father being incapacitated and Howe 
missing. It was all so new to the in- 
experienced young general that his head 
ached with mere hard thinking, while his 
damaged arm annoyed him at every moment 
and the severe physical trial of last night 
had left its own fatigue. He had had no 
time to write to Lilith ; her visit could not 
but seem to him a little inopportune. If he 
was not cold to her, at least he was dis- 
tracted ; and unreasonably he resented the 


intrusion of Mr. Turold, and especially that 
of Edward. 

*' To see the nakedness of the land ye are 
come ! " cried his irritation, as he endured his 
rival's calm courtesy. 

And there was no place he could take his 
sweetheart to for a moment alone, that they 
miofht fall into each other's arms and heal 
each other's wounded spirits by the touch of 
loving lips. The visit was little more than 
a failure, so Tom felt; and so, alas! did Lilith 

'' The most acute inflammation," pro- 
nounced the oculist, *' and the whole system 
very dangerously depressed. At his age 
neither the sight nor the brain is to be trifled 
with. Inflammation feeds on excitement ; 
you must keep him quiet and not let him be 

" The prescription is a little difficult," said 
Tom, '' but we wall do our best." 

After this, even to consult Mr. Palmer 
was impossible, and having solely his own 


judgment to rely on, Tom felt far from 
certain that he had said the right things to 
the insurance agents, for instance. 

*' Lord have mercy, Mr. Tom ! " said 
Philipps, one of the upper subordinates when 
these men were gone, " I'm afeard we've 
ruined the governor. If you'd given me an 
'int that my words was of consequence, I'd 
have found some lies orlib enoueh." 

" Oh, embarking in a course of lies never 
pays," said Tom. '' You had to tell what 
you knew. It's a piece of confounded bad 
luck, but I expect we must face it. As to 
ruin — nonsense ! Now tell me everything 
you can about Mr. Howe." 

" Indeed, sir," said Philipps, " I've been 
hoping and expecting to have that task set 
to me. I've been uneasy in my mind this 
some time back, and so's others. But where 
is Mr. 'Owe ? that's what I want to come at. 
He'd never have been so silly as to get him- 
self burned, not with all the cash he had 
about him yesterday morning ; and if burned 


he is, I'm thinking there'll be some trace of 
all that money, for it wasn't in paper, but in 
good hard gold which he'd been scraping 
together this way and that, by fair means and 
foul, this some weeks ; and what for, I want 
to know ? I ask you, sir, what did he want 
with money in that fashion ? and what's he 
gone and done with himself now, when he 
might be some use to us ? " 

Rather startled, Tom hurried to Howe's 
residence in Brunswick Square. The blinds 
were all drawn down, as if a coffin were in 
the house, and the knocker was muffled. 
Still Louisa had not exactly the air nor the 
appearance of a woman suddenly and shock- 
ingly bereaved of an affectionate husband. 
Tom went straight to the point. 

" Louisa, where is Jim ? " 

She was naturally an honest creature, and 
though she had learned her lesson she could 
not repeat it fluently. Tom had soon ex- 
torted the truth from her. 

'* You don't know where he is, Louisa ? 


But you know he is safe and with money in 
his pocket. He had been meditating this 
step ? " 

'' I don't know that he had, Tom," cried 
Louisa, wringing her hands. " It was when 
he found the place was on fire he couldn't 
stand it any longer. Yes, he ran home for 
a minute to bid me good-bye, but he didn't 
tell me much. He said it would ruin poor 
uncle. He said if you hadn't meddled he'd 
have pulled uncle through, but that now he 
must throw up the game. He's more to be 
pitied than any one, Tom. He was trying 
to make uncle's fortune — why, he had done 
it, you know he had — and now all of a 
sudden everything has gone to pieces." 

"Well," said Tom, "I can't say I feel 
much pity for Jim at present. I cari*t for- 
give him the tricks he's been playing with our 
reputation. But father will, I am sure, be 
more lenient than any man under the same 
circumstances. Jim should show some faith 
in him. Let him come back and at least 


share our misfortunes and use his wits in 
trying to help us out. Father said to me 
yesterday, that he would rather suffer exten- 
sive loss than disgrace a man who had 
served him so long. I don't say it's alto- 
gether my own feeling, but in acting for 
father I must try to act according to his 
views. You can tell Jim that." 

Louisa, however, had no means of com- 
municating with her husband ; and Tom left 
her convinced that the wife and children 
were for the present deserted and thrown on 
Mr. Palmer's ready charity. 

The son walked slowly away lost in 
thought. Howe then had gone, having 
robbed his employer directly of a few hun- 
dred pounds, which seemed a paltry enough 
trifle. But there was very evidently more to 
be found out, and the man himself believed 
that he had effected Mr. Palmer's ruin. 

" The new lamp will pull us through, I 
suppose," said Tom to himself, " but it's a 
literal beginning again." 


It was midnight before he sat down to 
write a love letter to Llllth. Even then he 
had to be brief, for Mr. Palmer was In great 
suffering and the son wanted to be with him. 
So there was no letter for Llllth on the 
breakfast-table next morning ; and when 
later In the day It came, It was not precisely 
the letter she had hoped for. Naturally ; 
Tom had so much to think of just now 
besides his lonely and waiting bride ! he had 
not time, was not in the mood for childish 
endearments and the silly delightful phrases 
of nine months ago ! Llllth understood all 
that ; if he had not sent her a love letter 
exactly, he had sent her the letter a man 
might write to his dear and trusted wife, and 
she knew she ought to be proud of such 
mark of confidence and security. None the 
less, she was disappointed. 

"Well, my dear," it was her fathers 
voice, and her father was still anxious to be 
kind, ''what does he say }'* 

" You can read it, papa, if you like/' said 


Lilith. When had she ever shown one of 
her lover's letters before ? 

It was a good while since Mr. Turold's 
courting- days, and he did not notice the 
possible coldness which was troubling Lilith. 
He did think the letter gave a very poor 
account of Mr. Palmer's position. 

When, several days later, the lover at last 
appeared to visit his mistress, Mr. Turold 
took care himself to hear the young man's 
first words. Edward also was present, and, 
as Tom entered, he said : 

" Lilith, remember your wager." 

'' I made no wager, Edward," retorted 
Lilith ; then turned to her lover : " Tom 
dear, your poor arm, is it better ? " 

" Oh yes," said he, moving his fingers 
stiffly ; ** it hurts confoundedly, and they 
say that's a good sign. What's the 
wager ? " 

" And Mr. Palmer's eyes ? " said Lilith. 

*'Ah, poor father! I'd have been here 
sooner, Lilith, but for him." 


Something in Tom's voice brought a 
sympathizing lump in the girl's throat. 

*' Oh, how sorry I am ! " she faltered ; but 
it is a question if Tom heard her trembling 
tones, for Mr. Turold interrupted to ask 
what doctor was in attendance. 

When Tom named the first oculist of the 
day, Edward explained that he was a man 
fond of heroic remedies, who had destroyed 
the sight of one of the Erpingham ladies and 
ruined her with his bill. For the first time 
in his life, Tom felt a bill to be a considera- 
tion, and hastened to change the subject. 

''You haven't explained the wager, Lilith." 

Edward smilingly replied for her. 

*' My cousin is shy. She and I have a 
bet on the probable date of your wedding." 

" No, Tom, I haven't !" cried Lilith; '' it's 
nonsense of Edward's." 

An awkward little pause followed, and 
Tom flushed a little. 

'' We can hardly avoid a further delay," 
he said bluntly; "it's a most horrid nuisance." 


" Lost ! " said Edward. " Lllith, you have 
lost your bet." 

Tom looked at her inquiringly. 

" Edward, you hiozv I never made any 
bet ! " cried Lilith, indignantly. 

" Oh, excuse me. Princess," he answered, 
with a bow ; '' I'll let you off, if you like, but 
we made the bet." Then he turned to Tom. 
'' You have said precisely what I prophesied 
you would say," he observed, dryly. 

Tom stared ; and Lilith, greatly frightened, 
slipped her hand into her lover's. 

'' Betting on a certainty is hardly fair," 
said Tom. " I wish any one would tell me 
how our marriage could take place 

"The question is," said Mr. Turold, rising 
and standing on the hearthrug, '' whether it 
is to take place at all. Will you oblige me 
by dropping my daughter's hand and listening 
to me ? " 

" Papa!" cried LiHth. 

" You can go away, my dear, if you don't 


like to hear it, but I must speak to Tom. 
Edward, take her away. Tom and I get on 
best alone." 

Lilith was sent away ; but Edward after 
a minute or two lounged in again. 

'' Well, sir ? " said Tom. 

" I suppose," began Mr. Turold, rather 
feebly, " this has come as a great surprise to 
you ? " 

" What has ? The fire ? We always 
thought a fire very possible. Of course 
we hadn't expected to lose the insurance." 

" It is ridiculous," said Edward, " to pretend 
that this fire is your only disaster." 

Tom stared again, for this tone was most 
distinctly hostile. 

" It is quite disaster enough," he replied ; 
" our stock in trade has vanished, and it's a 
kind of substance not to be replaced at a 
moment's notice in the next street, even if 
we had a place to store or to work it in. 
Of course, that's all dead loss. Then, my 
father is not in a condition even to give 

VOL. II. 32 


advice, and our manager has taken this 
moment to bolt, after, I fear, robbing us 
pretty extensively; and partly by luck, partly 
by judgment, he has to a great extent 
destroyed our books and papers, so that 
many of our claims we may never be able 
to make good ; while, having been speculating 
in my father's name, he has let us in for debts 
which will be, to say the least of it, very 
inconvenient at this moment to meet." 

'' And under these circumstances," said 
Gilbert Turold, '' do you still expect to 
marry my daughter ? " 

" Under these circumstances," said Tom 
with spirit, '' I so little see my way to asking 
for Lilith at once, that I call Mr. Vane's bet 
unfair, because it was a bet on a certainty." 

** It was made a good many weeks ago," 
observed Edward, suavely. 

** I don't understand you," said Tom, 
coming a step nearer. ''What reason had 
you for betting about me at all ? " 

*' Hush!" said Mr. Turold, ''don't talk of 


bets now, Edward. This is too serious for 
bets. May I ask, Tom, if you are pursuing 
that rascally manager to bring him to the 
dock ? " 

" I don't think my father wishes to bring 
him to the dock," replied Tom ; *' he's a 

*' Won't that look like conniving at his 
crimes ?" asked Edward. 

** At our own losses," corrected Tom. 

** And you have only just guessed the man 
was a scoundrel ? Other people knew it 
long ago. How has your house held up so 
long, considering " 

"We needn't go into all that, Edward,*' 
interposed Mr. Turold ; " it is not our affair ; 
nor Tom's either, for I have always under- 
stood that he is not officially in the business 
at all. What I wish to ask is this : will 
Mr. Palmer's capital or his credit hold out to 
set him on his legs again ? Because if not 
— there is no use in mincing matters — my 
daughter cannot marry his son. I must 


remind you, Tom, without being mercenary, 
that the difference in your social positions 
was condoned only on consideration of 

" No, sir," said Tom, colouring highly, *' I 
never thought so. That was not the con- 
sideration which justified my success with 

" Sentiment," said Edward, with a sneer. 

'' Put it as you Hke," said Mr. Turold, '' if 
you haven't wealth to offer her, as a matter 
of mere common sense my daughter must 
learn to love elsewhere." 

Tom was silent for a moment. 

"You are deciding against us too hastily," 
he said ; '' matters are not hopeless. We 
shall have to begin again certainly, but with 
excellent prospects. My father's credit will 
hold out." 

"■ You are sanguine," said Edward. 

" Yes, I am sanguine. He does not Intend 
to make the Prepared Paraffin again, but a 
new and a very greatly improved oil. It 


must supersede every other light. He is on 
the eve of patenting his invention. If father 
is not the most astute of business men," cried 
Tom, '*he is something better. He is an 
extremely clever man of science!" He 
turned to Edward. " You would not laugh 
if you had seen the new lamp. Will you 
and Mr. Turold come down to our house 
and I will show it to you ? It is, with- 
out any exaggeration, a most magnificent 


Without answering, Edward addressed 
his kinsman : 

'* If you ask my advice, I should say my 
cousin's hand should not be promised un- 
conditionally ; nor until this new oil, or what- 
ever it is, has had a very complete trial. I 
am told there is nothing more risky than 
even a successful patent." 

Mr. Turold fidgeted. 

'' You had better go to Lilith yourself, 
Tom, and tell her how matters stand. I 
consider it all very precarious." 


Tom smiled, feeling great renewal of 
confidence when he thought of the new 
lamp ; not even Edward Vane could sneer 
at that. 


ILITH, a little flushed with excitement, 
sat in the window-seat, waiting for her 
lover. He put his arm round her ; but there 
was something troubling the girl, and she did 
not sink into his embrace quite so readily as 
of old. 

''Tom, I do want to explain to you about 
that horrid wager. Edward likes to be 
teasing sometimes. I didn't make any 
wager, nor did he seriously. It was a 

'' Oh, a joke, was it ? " said Tom, not 
greatly interested ; " well, tell me the joke, if 
it's worth laughing at." 

" There is nothing to laugh at ; it was very 
silly. It made me very cross," said Lilith, 


with SO much insistence that Tom began to 
think it must be of importance, and to recall 
Edward's insinuations. ''He wanted a wager 
— in joke, of course — about the first demand 
you'd make when you came home. It was a 
long time ago, and I had been saying to papa 
that whatever day you wished for our wedding 
he must let me agree to it. Edward was 
listening, and he took it up and made silly 
jokes ; and now I think it is most unkind of 
him to repeat it to you, as if / had been 
laughing or making bets about anything you 
would say or do ! Indeed, Tom, I would 
never do such a thing ! " 

Lilith had not made her story very clear, 
and Tom perhaps thought that, like the lady 
in the play, she protested too much. 

'' Lilith, has Vane been trying to come 
between us ? " he asked abruptly, scanning 
the delicate face with some anxiety. 

Somehow the girl did not impress him 
as quite so resolute as she had been six 
months ago. 


" It is not pretty of you to ask such a 
thino-, Tom. Should / let any one come 
between us ? " Involuntarily she put a slight 
emphasis on the " I." 

There was a pause, Tom watching her. 
Lilith tried to shake off her depression and 
get back into the old playful vein. 

" Papa has been so nice to me lately, Tom. 
I am sure, in his heart, he is more reconciled 
to it. Now you've come home, it's all 
right ! " 

" I am afraid not, Lilith," said Tom, 
gravely. '' I'm afraid it isn't all right. We 
have to walk uphill awhile longer." 

" Tom, I do think you and papa will be 
friends some day ! I do indeed ! " 

'' Mr. Turold is not unfriendly, dearest. 
But he says you must marry a rich man ; 
and I am not sure that you realize, Lilith, 
what has happened ; that my riches, in the 
course of the last few days, have done after 
their natural manner — have made themselves 


'' But does it matter, Tom ? to you and to 

*' It matters this much, that we shall have 
to wait. Your father bade me tell you that 
very probably he would forbid it altogether." 

"Oh, Tom ! " said Lilith, pushing him 
away a little ; '' and what did you say ? " 

*' I said," replied Tom, smiling, " that it 
wasn't my place to tell you that." 

*' But you have told me ! " 

*' My darling, yes ! For, after all, I hope 
we love each other enough to discuss even 
that frankly together." 

''Tom, do you want to give me up?" 
asked Lilith, with a great effort, looking 

" Would you have me if I were poor, 
Lilith?" Her eyes suddenly filled with 
tears, but she raised them again to his, keep- 
ing silence, however. '' Darling ! dearest ! 
let us speak frankly ; it's the only way. 
Sometimes I am not sure we have been 
quite frank enough with each other. Never 


mind about hurting me. I am not easily 
hurt. Tell me exactly what you feel about 
it, my sweet ! " 

" Tom, I love you so much, I'd marry you 
to-morrow, if it was to live in a garret. I 
mean if you love me enough — if you don't 
want to give me up. But what frightens me 
is to think of waiting a year, or two years, 
or three, with papa angry again, and Edward 
teasing, and other people — oh, I don't 
really care what other people think, I 
shouldn't feel it in the very least if we 
were married — but it's the idea of always 
havinor to arg-ue " 

" I know. It is disagreeable, Lilith. But 
are you sure you wouldn't feel it if you were 
married '^. Darling, have you thought what 
it would mean to be married to me without 
riches ? " 

" Yes ! I know all about being poor. We 
are poor. Look, you never saw one of your 
friends in a little ii|^.-a-yard dress like 
this. I never had fans and flowers and boxes 


of sweets till you gave them to me. I could 
do without a horse, or visits, or travelling ; 
and quite little, kitchen-maid dinners would 
do. rd cook for you myself, Tom, and learn 
to make everything you liked. Oh, no ! I 
should not mind being poor ! " 

"It would be a different kind of poverty, 
Lilith. You aren't, I know, used to turtle 
soup, but you are to silver spoons. Living 
with me in a garret, you'd have none of the 
consequence you have here. Some of your 
friends would drop you." 

"Nasty things! Fd drop them! But, 
Tom, do you really mean me to say what I 
think ? " she asked coaxingly. 

"Why, yes, Lilith, I do." 

" But it's something you once put down 
your foot about, and I don't want to annoy 
you, Tom. Poor Tom ! you have worries 
enough without a teasing wife too ! " 

" If I am very much annoyed, I'll put the 
foot down again ; but I'll try not to crush 
my pretty Lilith under it. Go on, darling." 


**Well, then — I should be the heiress 
still. We could live here." 

'* No, Lilith, no ; the foot comes down. I 
didn't agree to that plan when I could have 
brought money into the establishment. 
Certainly I shouldn't agree to it if I were 
empty-handed. Besides, our marriage, under 
the circumstances, would be against the wish 
of your father and your grandfather, and I 
should most assuredly not be invited here." 

" You aren't angry with me, Tom, for 
saying it ? " 

'* Not a bit. Only I wish you could see 
how impossible that plan is ! " 

Lilith thought he was a little angry, and 
made no reply, feeling sad. 

'* I was going to ask you to wait, dearest. 
But you say you don't like the idea of waiting 
indefinitely ? Would it not be better, Lilith, 
than parting ? " 

" Oh, Tom, don't say it ! How could I 
bear it ? You don't wish that } " 

'' Wish it, Lilith ? " echoed Tom, bitterly. 


" And yet, oh, my darling! I should prefer it 
to a hasty, ill-considered marriage, which you 
would afterwards repent." 

Lilith was a less civilized being than her 
lover, and had not the same power of looking 
ahead. The long-gathering tears filled her 
eyes and chased each other down her cheeks. 

" But we should be happy now," she mur- 
mured, half intelligibly. 

*' Let me tell you what I think, Lilith. I 
think it will all come right, if we have 
patience. Even if waiting is rather tire- 
some, well, only one day comes at a time, 
you know. If we ended our engagement, 
we should both be very miserable ; and, on 
the other hand" — Tom smiled and tried to 
speak lightly ; but he rose and moved away, 
for, after all, she had put a very strong tempta- 
tion before him — '' on the other hand, if I 
carried you off at once, my treasure, which 
is what Fd give my right hand to be able 
to do, I should never dare to ask your 
father's forgiveness, for I should know I 


had acted unreasonably. There must be 
honour, even among sinners." 

He smiled and talked to her a little longer, 
reassuringly ; and Lilith smiled back and 
appeared comforted, and was very sweet and 
sympathizing about poor Mr. Palmer's illness, 
and the deserted Louisa Howe, with her 
helpless children, and the little boy whom 
Tom had not been able to save from the fire, 
and all the rest of the troubles which had 
to her ears some human interest. 

But, after they separated, gnawing doubts 
arose in the heart of each. Lilith's were 
very vaguely defined. She just felt that 
things had gone wrong, and that Tom 
seemed older and graver, and less exclusively 
occupied with herself, and that Edward had 
said he was glad to delay the marriage. 
Tom's alarm was better justified. Lilith was 
tender and fragile, fanciful and timid ; all 
her life she had been sheltered like a hot- 
house plant. Might she not faint in the day 
of adversity ? 


But It was Lilith only, who just now could 
sit still and brood over a love story. Tom 
had too much to do. His sunshiny, irre- 
sponsible youth was over ; he had been pitch- 
forked into the stern drama of life, and 
without any very clear directions as to the 
part he was required to play. Nor was his 
sweetheart now the only object appealing to 
his chivalry and tenderness. A strong man 
had been stricken down, and It was for the 
son to support his weakness, to heal his 
wounds, and to fight his battle. No son 
could have ignored the call ; and the rela- 
tions between Mr. Palmer and this child of 
his adoption and his love had always been 
peculiarly affectionate. 

By this time they were all back at Silcote 
Dene ; and Louisa Howe and her children 
had arrived, and were, so Tom feared, 
settling down for a permanence. The fact 
annoyed him greatly, for it seemed to argue 
insensibility on the wife's part to her 
husband's offences ; and Norah, the eldest 


child, was a singularly unpleasant young 
person, to whom Lilith took a hearty dislike 
the moment she saw her. Norah was spoiled, 
forward, and vulgar; clever, too, and good- 
looking, which made her all the worse ; and 
at the age of bumptious fifteen. Miss Turold 
came one day to ask for poor Mr. Palmer, 
and found herself In the room with Norah 
Howe, who addressed her as cousin, chaffed 
her about her lover, and tried to get up a 
flirtation with Tom to move the betrothed 
maiden to jealousy. 

*' Tom's to take me with him when he 
goes to see you to-morrow. Cousin Lilith," 
said Miss Howe, airily; "and will you show 
me how you do your hair ? I am going to 
put mine up. Tom, don't you think I shall 
look exactly like Cousin Lilith, when my hair 
Is up ? Mine's curly and black, just like hers. 
But I shall be very stiff once my hair is up. 
You shan't ever kiss me again, Tom, after that." 

Miss Turold took her departure with great 

VOL. II. 33 


'' Tom," she said to her lover, '' you mustn't 
dream of bringing that horrid child with you 
to-morrow, remember ! We have visitors." 

*' I am not dreaming of it," said Tom, 
good-humouredly ; but he could have wrung 
Norah's neck just then without compunction ; 
Lilith had never before turned up her nose 
at one of his belongings. 


-• 'IviN^ 



HERE came a day when Tom, who 
had gone to town as usual, returned 
unexpectedly at luncheon time with a white 
and haggard face, and demanded to see his 
father at once. His manner frio^htened both 
Mrs. Palmer and Louisa, who rose hastily 
from their veal cutlets and stood staring at 
him. He passed at once into his father's 
room, and found the invalid leaning back in 
his large armchair by the fire, motionless, his 
eyes still bandaged, and the windows par- 
tially darkened. All Mr. Palmer's energy, 
all his strength, seemed to have deserted 
him ; and the wan smile on his lips was of 
one who had been down into the valley of 
the shadow of death. Tom stood for a 


moment watching him, and his own lips 
paled when he thought of the thing he had 
to say to that stricken man. 

"Is it my dear boy?" said Mr. Palmer, 
feeling a warm hand on his shivering one. 
'' Tom, I was wanting you. I must have 
sent you a mental telegram." 

** Wanting me, father?" repeated the son, 

Neither was in a hurry to speak, and Mr. 
Palmer fumbled for the tray set beside him 
with his luncheon. The meat was cut up as 
if for a child, and Tom put the fork in his 
hand and guided it to the plate. A few 
minutes passed in silence, except for en- 
comiums on the food and wine, which were 
yet obviously being swallowed as a duty 
rather than as a pleasure. 

*' You see, Tom," said Mr. Palmer, rather 
suddenly, " I have heard a piece of bad news 
this morning. Oh, don't be frightened, my 
boy ; it's nothing but what has happened to 
hundreds before me, and it couldn't have 


come at a more merciful time — almost. I 
don't know why, Tom, but I had a feeling 
that I'd like to tell yott^ first. I've a kind of 
dread of telling mother. She'll feel it more 
than me, the dear woman. Tom, you'll have 
to break It to her for me." 

''What Is it, father? What has hap- 
pened ? " 

Tom's voice, always expressive, was start- 
ling in its sadness ; and Mr. Palmer's cheer- 
fulness faltered as he turned his sightless 
eyes inquiringly to his son's face. 

" It was the Lord who gave," he said, 
'' and now the Lord has taken away. I am 
blind, Tom ! Blind. Dr. Wrench has been 
here this morning, and brought another man 
with him — a Mossoo ; I couldn't catch his 
name. It's no use ! They can't never make 
me see again. I am blind." 

Tom was long silent, his left hand grasp- 
ing Mr. Palmer s dry and trembling one, his 
rieht arm thrown round his father's shoulder 
as he knelt by his side. 


" My boy, it's come at a merciful time. 
I have seen my lamp. Yes, thank God, I 
have finished my work ; I have seen my 
bonnie lamp. Bless me, Tom ! what's that 
you have dropped on my hand ? Confound 
the lad ! He's only a girl after all ! Don't 
be thinking, Tom, I'm always going to sit 
helpless on a chair like this. I'll learn to 
go about and do everything for myself. I've 
no notion of giving in to things ; it's sulks. 
It's like the men who thought they were 
starving, and the Lord said to them, ' How 
many loaves have ye ? Go and see! That's 
what he says to me, Tom : Go and see how 
much strength, and sense, and good things 
you have left. Ay, and He'll make it 
sufficient, my boy, if it's no more than the 
^N^ barley loaves and the two small fishes." 

Anxious to show his activity and good 
will, he had risen and was groping his way 
about the room, leaning on his son's arm. 
Here, however, he caught his foot in the 
rug and stumbled heavily. 


'* Never mind, never mind ; it needs 
practice," he said, and sat down rather 
staggered, Tom leaning on the table beside 
him, and wondering how after this prelude 
he was to utter his own bad news, which yet 
must be communicated, and at once. 

" I could wish you had told me this any 
other day, father ! " he said at last. 

And again Mr. Palmer, struck by his tone, 
turned to him abruptly and inquiringly, and 
tried, by his inexperienced fingers, to feel 
what he was thinking about. The son 
could have cried like a child. 

** I have discovered," said Tom in a low 
voice, clenching his hands, " the exact reason 
why Jim has gone. God knows, father, I 
would keep it back from you if I dared." 

" No, no, Tom ; keep nothing back ! " 
gasped Mr. Palmer, alarmed. 

No one had mentioned Jim's name to him 

lately ; he himself had felt the subject too 

painful to be faced till he should be stronger. 

" Father," continued Tom, *' you told me 


you were doubtful about your agreement with 
Stirke and Ransom. Had you signed it ? " 

" Yes, Tom, I had. God forgive me ! it 
was brought to me the very day I perfected 
my oil, and the details had always been left 
to Jim. Ransom was a friend of his, you 
know. Jim told me it was word for word 
the same as last year. Have they plundered 
us, Tom ? It will come in awkward just 
now. But it's my own fault; I can't deny 
it. Fd sooner you blamed me than poor 

" I'd give the world they had plundered 
us," said Tom ; and went on, '* I saw Stirke 
yesterday. I have been with him all this 
morning. He is anxious to be just — gene- 
rous, I dare say ; but the position Is most 
serious. We must not calculate on mercy. 
I do not believe you would wish it, father." 

Mr. Palmer trembled. 

*' Tom, you speak Dutch. Get on faster, 
boy ; you forget I cannot see you," he said 


" Ransom had absconded also, but has 
been arrested. Howe, I hope, will be found 
and arrested. There has been plunder, 
father ; good heavens, yes ! enough of it ; 
extending over a long period. It is not you 
who have been plundered ; it is Stirke. 
Criminally, he says." 

The sick man's face whitened, and the 
veins stood out on his brow. He pressed 
his hand heavily against his eyes ; then 
tore the bandage from them, as if hoping 
thus to regain their use. 

'' Criminally, Tom ? Who ? What ? " 

** Criminally," repeated Tom, ''certainly 
on Howe's part, and on Ransom's, I sup- 
pose. But — good God, father ! don't ask 
me to say more." 

Mr. Palmer was silent for a moment. 
Though his face was ghastly, he was regain- 
ing his quiet and his strength. 

" I see, Tom ; you mean that it has been 
done — whatever it is — in my name ; that I 
am responsible." 


"• Father, they have your signature ! " said 

There was a pause. 

"Then I am responsible," said the blind 
man, rising ; " there is not a doubt about it. 
My boy," he went on, firmly, " I need not 
protest to yoti that I am innocent of dis- 
honesty. The world will not listen to protes- 
tations, and you need not fear I shall stoop to 
make any. If Jim has let me in for this, my 
negligence has made me responsible, and I 
will make reparation. You must give me 
the figures, Tom ; the whole statement of 
the transactions from beginning to end. And, 
Tom," his voice changed to piteous pleading, 
'' you must read it out slowly, and be patient 
if I ask for the same bit again and again. 
I am blind, you know. You haven't gone 
away, lad, have you ? " ended the blind man, 
irritably, as his son kept heavy silence. 

The quick clasp of the firm young hand 
reassured him, and he was himself again. 
He resumed calmly. 



** Tom, you are thinking I shall be arrested 
with the others ; at once perhaps. Whether 
that is the case or not, unless you and I can 
find an adequate explanation, I shall repay 
this money ; whatever sum it is, and without 

" Father," said the young man, in a low, 
distinct voice, *' we have not got it to pay. 
We are broke." 


' LITTLE unremembered act of kind- 
ness" done by Jack Palmer in his 
dreamy youth to this same man Stirke, saved 
him from immediate pursuit. '* I will cer- 
tainly give him a chance," said Stirke to 
himself, with what he believed great gene- 
rosity; "I'll see what the young fellow 
has to propose. But of course he shall be 
watched. He shan't decamp like his precious 
nephew. It's a pity these self-made men 
always turn out dishonest." 
V But Tom, ignorant of these pacificatory 
reflections, was in a fever of anxiety, and 
shook each time he heard a step on the 
threshold. After he had left Mr. Palmer, 


and while his horse was saddling, he said a 
few words to his mother of explanation and 

She was a quiet but a strong woman, 
and sat with her hands folded in her lap, 
neither weeping nor wailing. When he told 
her further of the oculist's verdict, her reply 
moved Tom's admiration. 

" I have known it from the first, dear," 
she said sadly. " Dr. Wrench told me the 
first day he had next to no hope. I kept it 
to myself, not to discourage poor father and 

''You are very brave, mother," said the 
young man, and sat down on a low seat by 
her side and let her put her arms round him 
and comfort him. 

*' He has his son left to him, Tom, what- 
ever else is gone ; and if you only knew it, 
that's more to him than most thinors. And 
he has his lamp to think about too. And 
you've been a good son to us, Tom ; and he's 
a good man, and we mustn't for^^et the 


promise that the righteous never are for- 
saken. There'll be some way of help for 
him, I do believe ; and if any one can find 
it, it'll be you, my dear, I am sure of that." 

" Why, what in Heaven's name can /do ? " 
cried Tom. " The curse of it is that my good 
things will leave me, and they wont benefit 
him, not one jot." 

Mrs. Palmer was rather frightened. 

*' Will you lose her, Tom ? " she whispered. 

'' Who ? Lilith ? " returned Tom, bitterly. 
'' Yes, I suppose I shall lose her. However 
this matter ends, Mr. Turold will have to be 
told, and I am confident he will kick me out." 

'* But, Tom, wouldn't she- " 

" How can I tell .^ " cried Tom. '' Has 
she no one but me to think of ? You torture 
me, mother, with these questions." 

He burst from her, flung himself on his 
horse and had taken up the bridle, when 
penitence drove him back. His poor patient 
mother ! 

Mrs. Palmer had gone to her husband, and 


thither Tom followed her, his step noiseless 
on the thick carpet. 

'' If he had only chosen Grace !" he heard 
his mother say, leaning over the blind man, 
the door behind her ajar. 

Tom turned abruptly and did not carry 
out his intention of apology. 

Some hours later he was, according to his 
father's wish, closeted with Sir Joseph Kid- 
son. Dinner was finished at the substantial 
villa which the Molesworthy wags called 
Kerosine Castle ; but Sir Joseph sat on over 
his wine, and so received his visitor in the 

" Well, Tom, this is a pretty blow up," he 
said, pushing the decanter across the table. 
" Ah, I always said your governor was 
spending too much money. Has he been 
off his head, then, this last twelvemonth ? 
What, hasn't he heard whispers ? If he 
hadn't the face of an innocent they'd have 
been more than whispers by this time ; and 
I tell you what, if he hadn't the face of an 


innocent he'd be spending to-night in a police 
cell. Well, what's he going to do ? " 

Sir Joseph's tone was not exactly pleasant, 
and Tom wished himself free to resent it. 

'' Refund the money," said Tom. 

" Has he got any money ?" 

'* I don't think he has. Father wants to 
see you, Sir Joseph. He says you'll advise 
him how to raise it." 

Sir Joseph drank a glass of port and 
poured out another. 

"Are you still engaged to that Miss 
Turold ? " he asked. 

" Of course I am engaged to Miss Turold," 
said Tom, angrily ; '' I am not come to dis- 
cuss that." 

" But it'll be broke off, eh ? " 

" Never by me," said Tom. 

" It's a pity you are engaged to Miss 
Turold," persisted Sir Joseph. " I might have 
been inclined to help you if we could have 
made it a sort of family concern. Do you 
know, Tom," burst out Sir Joseph, " my girl 


wants to go into a nunnery — a popish nun- 
nery ! It's a shame and a sin to think of. I'd 
sooner see her go into her grave. And it's 
all because you have fiddle-faddled with her 
and made her in love with you, and then 
turned her off like an old glove when you 
saw a smarter woman. It's next thing to a 
breach of promise. And here's the result : 
she's turned papist already, and now she's 
going to turn nun." 

** Sir Joseph, I can't think of anything 
but father's position. The only way to clear 
himself of this is to make compensation. 
Stirke has been cheated abominably, and 
that's the plain truth ; and father, now that 
he knows it, won't have a moment's peace 
of mind till the money is refunded." 

" And then there's the probability of prose- 
cution," put in Sir Joseph. 

** Good heavens, I know ! " cried Tom. 
" But he is ill, weak in mind and in body. 
And he has lost his eyesight, poor father ! 
I don't suppose he'll ever be able to attend 

VOL. n. 34 


to business again. And Jim is gone and I 
am as ignorant as a pig. You must give 
me advice, Sir Joseph. How am I to raise 
this sum, to say nothing of our other debts ? " 
'* The thing is," said the other, '' Jack has 
no security to offer." 

"You are wrong there, sir. Would not 
the Prepared Paraffin offer security ? And 
we have a better fish in our net. I have 
come to tell you." 

Sir Joseph emptied his glass again. 
'' Prepared Paraffin is superseded," he 

" It is, indeed !" cried Tom. 
"Combined Kerosine also." 
" I cannot deny it." 

" You don't seem to understand me, Tom. 
I have just patented a new oil." 

" You ? " echoed Tom, with momentary 
dismay, quickly subsiding ; for Prepared 
Paraffin had always excelled Combined 
Kerosine, and it was inconceivable that Sir 
Joseph's improved kerosine could approach 


in glory to the Improved paraffin of Mr. 
Palmer's invention. 

" Haven't you seen my advertisement all 
over London ? * From henceforth Evening 
Sunrise.' Neat, isn't It ?" 

'' Oh, is that yours ? We thought it was 
soap. Why didn't you tell us, Sir Joseph ? " 

*' I begin to sell next month," said Sir 
Joseph, complacently. '' I've got the patent, 
and have been manufacturing more largely 
than would be prudent for a less Ai thing." 

" May I see the light ? " said Tom ; and 
followed his host to the drawing-room, think- 
ing that this rival lamp, poor thing as it 
would doubtless prove compared with INIr. 
Palmer's, had appeared most inopportunely. 

Sir Joseph's house was less spacious and 
less magnificent than the mansion of Silcote 
Dene, though magnificence would have sat 
more becomingly on him and on his lady 
than on simple Mr. and Mrs. Palmer. The 
KIdson drawing-room was crowded In the 
modern style with inexpensive ornaments 


and movables, and was generally pervaded 
by a dim religious light, dear to Grace. Tom 
had a horror of the room, and always ex- 
pected to knock something down as he made 
his entry. To-night there was no excuse 
for such awkwardness. 

'' There's a blaze of Sunrise for you ! " said 
Sir Joseph, flinging the door wide and push- 
ing Tom Palmer in. 

Afterwards the young man had only a 
confused recollection of having shaken hands 
with Lady Kidson and with Grace, of having 
heard and vaguely answered a few questions, 
of having seen Edward Vane in the back- 
ground as a gracefully smiling spectator. 
He was thoroughly conscious of one thing 
only : the effulgence of the single lamp on 
the centre table. 

Sir Joseph put his arm through Tom's 
and began to talk volubly. 

'* Mr. Vane tells me it has all been fooling 
between you and that Miss Turold. She's 
going to jilt you. Your name's to be struck 


off her books to-morrow. I'll give your 
father a partnership, Tom, and square it 
somehow with Stirke, if you'll try your luck 
as my son-in-law," he said, holding out his 
disengaged hand to draw Grace forward. 

Tom wrenched his arm from the man's 
grasp, the hot blood mounting to his 

'' I think, Sir Joseph," he said, his voice 
shaking with anger, '' you might have spared 
your daughter this." 

He walked over to the lamp and stood 
looking at it and trying to recover from the 
sense of stinging insult. Again the glorious 
radiance burned itself into his brain. Then 
suddenly full realization of the calamity 
returned to him, and his angry flush died 
away, leaving him pale as ashes. 

" My God ! " exclaimed Tom, clenching 
his fists and staggering backwards as if 
stricken by the dazzling rays ; '' but it is 
identical ! It is the same thine •' " 

Late that night Mrs. Palmer was in the 


hall at Sllcote Dene waiting for her son's 
return. He came in slowly, his head bowed, 
his hand trembling, despair in his soul. He 
had lost all hope now. Mr. Palmer had 
nothing to fall back upon ; his capital, his 
credit were alike gone ; he was ruined and 
dishonoured. And for Tom himself, he had 
lost his Lilith. 

" My dear," said the quiet woman, meet- 
ing him in the doorway and taking his hand, 
"poor father's sitting up for you. He'll 
never sleep a wink till you've been to him 
and told him what you've done." 

" Oh, mother, no ! " cried the son ; " I 
cannot tell him to-night ! " 

But the invalid's voice was heard calling, 
and they crept in together on tiptoe to the 
room where the blind man sat, brilliantly 
illuminated by his new lamp but himself 
insensible to its presence. 

'' Tom ! Is that you, Tom ? Come to 
me at once. Has Joe come ? Have you 
devised something ? Take him to the 


laboratory and show him the lamp. I told 
mother to light it there ready for you. Is 
Joe in the room with you now, Tom, or 
is he not ? " 

The son knelt beside him and took the 
wasted hands in his. 

"My dear, dear father!" he said; "my 
dear father ! " How he got the further words 
out he never knew. They had the keenness 
of a sabre thrust, and no gentleness could 
avert their wound. " Father," said Tom, in 
a tone of anguish, " Sir Joseph is not here. 
He has shown no confidence in you, no con- 
sideration for you. He is not your friend. 
Your new lamp is valueless. It is fore- 
stalled ; and by him." 

" My — my lamjp, Tom .'^ " murmured the 
blind man, faintly. 

Then for half an hour there was silence. 
The sufferer lay back in his chair, rigid and 
motionless, his face drawn and white, as if 
the current of his blood had frozen. But he 
had not fainted, and his thoughts had flown 


into a region whither his son's could not 

''Tom," he said at last, in a soundless 
voice which accorded too well with his 
deathly aspect, " there Is one comfort left 
to me : I don't intend any of this to fall 

upon jK^^^." 

Mrs. Palmer burst into tears, wringing 
her hands ; but the words were meaningless 
to Tom, and he scarcely heeded them. 

They got him to bed, and all that night 
he lay with his sightless eyes unvislted by 
sleep, and with drops of silent anguish on 
his brow. Now and then his lips moved, 
but no sound passed from them ; he waited 
as David, when he said, '' I was dumb : 1 
opened not my mouth, because Thou didst 
it." His wife had petitioned for her right to 
sit up with him, but very gently he had sent 
her away. " Let me have my boy," he 
said, *' maybe it's for the last time." And 
sometimes, as the long night-watches wore 
away, the feeble groping hand would seek 


his son's, to make sure he was beside him 

The wintry daylight had come, and it was 
nearing the hour of the household's awaken- 
ing, when he began to talk. His tone was 
eager, the paralysis of grief was over, 
strength had returned, and with it the wish 
to act. Tom was not sure the frail current 
of his blood was unfevered. 

" In so far as this trouble s punishment," 
he said, " I wouldn't wish a way out. I 
have been wrong, Tom. I see it all now. 
I have been a neglecting, an unjust steward 
of my Master's riches. It was partly because 
I knew Jim was so much cleverer than me, 
partly that I wasn't quick enough to follow 
his explanations, partly that my mind was 
on something else. God forgive me ! " 

*' Well," said Tom, " if you have been 
credulous and careless, it isn't my notion of 
Heaven's justice that you should be accused 
of swindling. But the law is indiscrimi- 
natine. You must listen to me, father. Will 


you and mother slip away over the sea 
somewhere ? We should at least be spared 
seeing you treated as a felon. If so, if you 
want to escape, we must set about it at 

'' Tom," said Mr. Palmer, /' if I could see 
your face, my lad, I should know that you 
neither wish nor expect me to say ' Yes ' to 
that proposition." 

Tom smiled faintly. 

"You would rather face it, dad ? I thought 
so. But are you sure you know what you 
are facing ? " 

"Yes, Tom. It's a sad end to my poor 
life, but I will face it." He was silent for a 
moment, then resumed : " What crushes me, 
Tom, is not losing my riches, God knows I 
never cared about them, except for you, my 
boy ; nor losing my bonny lamp, though I've 
lived for little else this three years ; nor losing 
my son, though he's grown to be an idol to 
me if too much love can be Idolatry ' 

"What do you mean about losing your 


son ? " interrupted Tom. But with that 
suspicion of fever, he did not press the 
question, and Mr. Palmer went on : 

'' — nor being called a fool, which maybe 
I was ; nor a rogue, which, before heaven, I 
was not ; but what crushes me is that God 
is leaving me without the means of paying 
my debts : ill debts, Tom, and I would any 
day rather have walked to my grave over 
burning coals than have taken a farthing 
from any one beyond my rights. My boy, 
think for me ! my head is weak. Is there 
nothing to be done ? Didn't Joe Kidson 
suggest anything ? Fd have helped him, 
Tom, if he'd been in a trouble like this." 

"■ He made one suggestion," said Tom, 

*' He did ? And you haven't told me, 
Tom ? What was it ? Why haven't you 
told me ? " 

*' He suggested," said Tom, slowly and 
dryly, ''that I might marry Grace." 

Mr. Palmer started up on his elbow with 


a momentary glorious vision of the rescue 
and the joy impHed by this. 

" Ah ! " he exclaimed, with the triumph of 
one who has found a solution, '' Grace loves 
you, Tom ! " Then the bright vision faded 
and left him in the darkness as before. '* You 
shall not be asked to do it, my son," he said 
quietly. " I forgot, for the moment, about 

"Yes," said Tom, " I want LiHth. But it 
is not at all likely that I shall marry her 

Mr. Palmer beat his hand restlessly on 
the counterpane, his mind still dwelling on 
the pleasure Tom's marriage with Grace 
would have given him ; but he only said, 
'' You have comforted me, my boy, telling 
me that my old friend did think of me." 

He was silent again after this, and at 
eight insisted on rising and dressing as 
usual, Mrs. Palmer, with red eyes, doing his 
seeing for him and guiding his hands. He 
seemed, if anything, stronger than yesterday, 


though his patient smile had vanished in the 
gloom of some stern purpose. The house- 
hold assembled for the customary family 
prayer ; a long file of servants coming in, 
who had just been told by the son of the 
house that they were one and all to seek 
other situations. Mr. Palmer sat beside 
his wife, and she opened the shabby, old- 
fashioned family Bible, which told of the 
self-made man's early poverty and genuine 
humility. On its first page was entered 
rather lengthily the date of his marriage 
with Mary Hooper ; and below this was left 
large space for the names of many sons and 
daughters. Not Tom's name nor any other 
was written there. The boy himself had 
sometimes wondered at the omission. 

" Not the usual chapter, Polly," said Mr. 
Palmer ; '' maybe we'll never be all together 
like this again. We'll have a special chapter, 
and Tom shall read it. He'll remember it 
afterwards. We'll have the tale of Abraham 
called by the Lord to give up his only son." 


Tom saw no special application in the 
chapter, and read it in clear, untouched 
accents, his mind running on other things. 
But the blind man seemed strangely moved, 
and tears stood in his wife's kind eyes as she 
watched him. 


N the afternoon, Tom, returning from 
i' town, went first to Turold Royal. 
Till now he had hardly faced his own 
position ; its wretchedness forced itself ob- 
trusively on his notice as he paced the lime 
avenue of his love's stately home. Almost 
at the house, he turned and retraced his 
steps to the lodge ; there turned again. 
What would his reception be ? It seemed 
to him as if power of will were leaving him, 
and the rest of the day must pass in this 
miserable wandering backwards and for- 
wards, through the thick drizzle, under the 
limes ; his heart torn in two by the wild 
desire to feel Lilith in his arms and the 


dread that this meeting would prove their 

From this lethargy he was roused by 
an unlooked-for sight. Two figures came 
from the house towards him, very slowly and 
laboriously : one, a little girl, holding with 
difficulty an umbrella over her companion, 
and supporting no less than guiding his 
feeble steps. The child Tom recognized at 
once. It was Norah Howe : Norah, very 
self-important and a little careworn, but 
gentler and more womanly than usual. 
Whose, however, was that bowed and 
trembling form ? Whose that hesitating, 
stumbling step ? That blind, old man — was 
this indeed his father ? The son hardly 
recognized him. And what in the world 
was he here for ? 

" Oh, Tom ! " cried Norah, as he joined 
them, '' do hold the umbrella for me ! It's so 
heavy, and this roll of papers is so slippery, 
and he's getting dreadfully wet, and he is 
so tired. I can't think how ever I'll get 


him home. And we've been there such a 
time. But Cousin LiHth was ever so nice 
and " 

*'Hush!" said Tom, more than ever 
astonished; but appalled by Mr. Palmer's 
aspect and this silent, terrible clinging to his 
son's arm. Had some new trouble fallen ? 
But the only question he asked was a per- 
functory one. 

'' Why didn't you drive, dad ? " 

Mr. Palmer stopped and gasped for breath. 

" I've no right, Tom — to drive In my 
carriage — no more," he said ; '' but It's a 
long — way." 

Tom took him home, and Norah walked 
unheeded on one side, hanging also on the 
young man's arm, and heavily, for she, too, 
was tired. At the hall door Mrs. Palmer 
met them, and Tom handed the blind man 
into her charge, recommending port wine 
at once ; then was starting back to Lilith, 
when he found he had still the roll of papers 
in his hand. 

VOL. II. 35 


'' Here, Norah, take these," he said care- 
lessly ; but Mr. Palmer suddenly snatched 
them from the child and thrust them back 
at Tom with the vague direction of blindness. 

'' They are yours, my boy. Take them. 
Keep them yourself, my dear lad. They 
are yours." 

Tom stuffed them into his pocket and dis- 
appeared into the rain again ; thinking of 
Lilith, who, by Norah's account, was expect- 
ing him. 

" I've done it, Polly !" gasped Mr. Palmer ; 
"there's only you and me now. He'll never 
be called our son no more. Oh, my dear, 
my dear ! may God forgive me for feeling 
it so deeply. He'll never be our son no 
more." And he groaned ; Norah watching 
him with her big eyes, vastly astonished. 

Silently the childless man and woman went 
into their desolated house and sat together 
in the twilight, alone and with no work to 
distract them from their pain. 




[ralR. PALMER had spent that mornnig 
^^M. in his laboratory, where the familiar 
smell of his chemicals and the touch of 
tubes and retorts recalled him to his old 
self. But he had nothing to do. Once he 
rose and groped about till he found a 
specimen of his new oil which had been 
such a pride and delight to him. He 
dabbled his fingers in it, then a wave of 
great disappointment overwhelmed him, and 
all alone the old man wept. 

In the afternoon he sent for Norah, and 
with her help got his cabinet open, and Tom's 


credentials, long treasured in secret, brought 
to light. It took a long time, for Norah did 
not know what she was seeking, nor was 
quick in deciphering what she found. At 
last, however, Mr. Palmer had all the papers 
in his hand, and got himself dressed by the 
help of the footman ; and then he set out for 
Turold Royal, leaning on the little girl and 
on his umbrella. But this was the first time 
he had been out since his illness, and long 
ere reaching his destination he could scarce 
draof one foot after the other. 

Yates went off in search of Caxton ; and 
neither Caxton nor Yates being pleased by 
the visit, the blind man and the child were 
left long standing in the hall. 

'* Norah, I know the way myself," said 
Mr. Palmer. "• Come, my dear, we'll go up 
the staircase." 

How pleased was Norah ! but how 
frightened too when she found herself 
wandering round the strange, spacious, 
sombre house, so unlike any she had seen 


before. Mr. Palmer was soon at fault, and 
they strayed into a vast panelled gallery, 
with doors opening off it and deeply 
recessed windows looking out over the park. 
They paused, bewildered. Suits of armour 
were stationed at intervals divided by stately 
chairs and wondrous chests. Ghostly 
portraits in antique frames hung on the walls. 
At Norah's feet lay a beautiful renaissance 
monument of a dead warrior, his sword on 
his breast, his spurs at his side, his mailed 
hands meekly crossed ; his face beneath the 
helmet, young, calm, and beautiful ; the neck 
relaxed, the mouth fallen a little open, as at 
the touch of Death's own finger. Norah had 
not seen a dead man before, and even in 
this beautiful marble it frightened her. 

" Fm quite certain we aren't going right," 
she said, her voice shrill with anxiety. *' I'd 
much better call Cousin Lilith ; or perhaps 
a housemaid," she added apprehensively, 
perceiving that Miss Turold must be a more 
stately lady than she had at all supposed. 


Happily Lilith overheard the cockney 
accents of her aversion, and came out hastily 
from her boudoir, feeHng surprised that 
after all Tom should have brought this 
odious child into the house. To her 
astonishment she saw, instead of her 
anxiously expected lover, poor Mr. Palmer 
struggling painfully along, looking hopelessly 
tired and ill and unhappy, his boots, 
victims of his blindness, splashed, like 
Christian's after the Slough of Despond. 
Lilith, who had only known him as very 
healthy, very prosperous, and, as she 
supposed, very much contented with the 
world and with himself, was awestruck. 

'' Come in here, Mr. Palmer," she said, 
taking his hand. '' Isn't Tom with you ? 
Come in, Norah; don't cry, dear. This Is 
my own room, and I was having tea early 
because I thought Tom was coming. Oh, 
Mr. Palmer, nothing has happened to Tom, 
has it ? " 

'* No, my dear, nothing. That's just it. 


Nothing has happened to Tom," he said. 
" He'll be here presently, my dear. 
Don't you be frightened. I — I am very 
tired," he ended, faintly. 

She placed him in her softest chair and 
brought him a cup of tea herself, ready to 
cry at seeing his helplessness ; and she bent 
over him tenderly, guiding his fingers, till 
he had drunk it and seemed somewhat 
revived and rested, not talking to him, nor 
asking where he had dropped from, nor 
what he wanted. 

" I had to come, please," stammered 
Norah. more than ever conscious of the 
difference between herself and Miss Turold, 
" to take care of poor uncle. He's gone 
blind; you know." 

" Of course, dear," said Lilith. " I am 
very glad to see you." 

However, she beofan to be conscious of a 
little embarrassment ; for during the last few 
days she had heard many harsh things said 
of this poor old man, and she knew her 


father would not like to find him in her 

" Did you bring me a message from 
Tom ? " she asked shyly. 

He got up, in his groping, unsteady way. 

''My dear," he said, " you are truly fond 
of my boy ? " 

'' Why, yes," said Lilith, smiling ; '' that's 
an old story now, Mr. Palmer." 

"You'd sooner bear a bit of trouble for 
him than lose him, my dear ? " 

" I have never thought of giving him up," 
said Lilith, her colour going and coming. 
Oh ! why had not Tom come /mnself about 

'' Miss Turold, my dear young lady, will 
you give me your hand, my dear, and take 
me upstairs to your grandfather." 

" To my grandfather ? Oh, Mr. Palmer, 
you know papa doesnt like it ! He didn't 
like it before. And I am so anxious not to 
annoy papa just now, Mr. Palmer." 

" My dear, it's for Tom's sake," said the 


blind man, tremulously, '' and if you only 
knew it, it's breaking my heart to have it to 
do. Don't you put difficulties in my way, 
my dear, for I'm too weak for fighting with 
any one." 

Lilith, thus solemnly adjured, obeyed, 
wondering much. But she was young and 
hopeful. Her grandfather and Mr. Palmer 
had mysteriously aided her before ; perhaps 
they were going to do it again. 

Presently Miss Turold returned to Norah 
and entertained her very successfully for 
what seemed to both a preposterously- 
lengthened period ; on thorns, however, lest 
her father should come up and reprove her 
for what she had done, and all the while 
wondering more and more anxiously Avhy, if 
Tom really loved her as of old, he did not 

Meanwhile, Gilbert Turold, unconscious of 
intruders, was in the library talking to 
Edward Vane. The former looked worried 
enough, but the latter was in the condition 


of well-controlled excitement which belongs 
to the successful conspirator. 

" The crisis has come," said Mr. Turold ; 
*' we shall have trouble with Lilith." 

*' Ah, no. You see, Gilbert, I am in her 
confidence. I have gradually opened her 
eyes about him. She is full of doubts now. 
We mustn't spare him any longer in speak- 
ing to her." 

*'Yes, yes. I know all that. Poor 
Lilith ! " 

" You see, the fellow, to put it plainly, is 
such a liar." 

Edward had disliked Tom Palmer heartily 
from the first ; still, two months ago he had 
not meant to injure him more than by steal- 
ing Lilith. But to conspire against a man 
leads to hatred, and Edward hated Tom 
Palmer now. 

'* I think you exaggerate, Edward. Of 
course I've begun to distrust him thoroughly, 
yet there's something I rather like about the 
fellow, too." 


** My dear Gilbert ! I've been making 
inquiries. That was a swindling transaction 
which took him to America ; happily it 
missed fire. I am told further swindline, 
which has not missed fire, is to be exposed 
at once. Then that boasting of an im- 
proved patent. Simply a lie. The fact 
is Kidson has a new patent — a thorough 
good one, I hear — and that old humbug 
Palmer, or the young one, tried to steal 
it ; but Kidson was too sharp for them. 
Detectives are watching old Palmer to 
prevent his bolting. Good God, what an 
escape it all is for Lilith ! But why are you 
so depressed, Gilbert ? She has escaped." 

" Depressed ? I don't know that I am 
particularly depressed. Sit down, Edward. 
There is something else I wish to tell you. 
Of course if — if Lilith is released from this 
most unsuitable connection, I should greatly 

wish Well, that's neither here nor 

there," he said, interrupting himself hastily ; 
'' what I want to tell you is this : it won't do 


for any one to count on Lilith's being eventu- 
ally my heir. There may be changes " 

Edward, smiling composedly, still pricked 
up his ears. *' It was so evident to me 
from the first," continued Mr. Turold, walk- 
ing about, ''that young Palmer was not, 
and never could be, the man for Turold 
Royal, that I felt, even if he married my 
daughter, he must not be called to the 
position here. It was that consideration 
which made the marriage so peculiarly 
distasteful to me. You take my meaning, 
Edward ? " 

'' Not altogether," said Edward. 

"Up to the last month — of course, now 
one has begun to distrust him altogether ; 
but before that I did not altogether dislike 
the fellow. And Lilith's wish necessarily 
had great weight with me. Only I couldn't 
possibly have him at Turold Royal ; that 
was the point. She had to choose between 
her lover and her inheritance. It came to 


'' You mean " said Edward, gently. 

'' I admit that I have acted a Httle Impul- 
sively, perhaps a little prematurely. One 
gets hurried on sometimes. I fear Llllth 
will be vexed. Young girls are sentimental ; 
and if, after all, It turns out to have been un- 
necessary — I mean from her point of view. 
Well ! well ! It has not been announced, 
Edward. Mrs. Gascolgne does not con- 
sider the time since her husband's death 
sufficient " 

'' You mean," said Edward, ''that you are 
engaged to young Mrs. Gascolgne ?" 

*'Yes; the fact is that," admitted Mr, 
Turold, blushing. 

''It Is what Ave have all expected," said 
Edward, warmly. 

" Have you ? Have you really ? " said 
the elderly lover, with some excitement. 
" Eh ? You don t think it will be considered 
unsuitable ? Emily is certainly young, but 
— you have been expecting it, eh ? " 

"If you will allow me to say so," said 


Edward, " I should think the match in every 
way suitable. You know, of course, that this 
information cannot make any obstacle to my 
attachment to Lilith ? " 

'' You relieve my mind very greatly by 
saying that," said Mr. Turold ; and they 
shook hands warmly. Edward, no doubt, 
meant what he said, for he was attached to 
Lilith altogether apart from her heirship. 
Still, he felt no enthusiasm for, and had even 
some notion of hindering Gilbert's union with 
young Mrs. Gascoigne. 

'* If I were you," said Edward, '' I'd just 
mention what you have told me to young 
Palmer. I never was a believer in his dis- 
interestedness. If you don't want him to 
suggest an elopement to Lilith, you should 
inform him that she has no fortune now and 
is very unlikely ever to have any." 

'' Upon my soul, Edward, I never thought 
Tom cared for her position. What annoyed 
me about him more than anything was his 
supreme indifference to it. To suggest now 


that his motives were interested would be a 
gratuitous hurting of his feeHngs." 

'' Oh, never mind his feeHngs ; I want to 
guard LiHth's. Unless we absolutely and 
entirely get rid of this fellow, he will have 
it in his power to cause her very great an- 
noyance. The fact is, Gilbert, your kind 
heart has allowed the young humbug com- 
pletely to take you in." 

" Well, I can add a postscript to my letter. 
Tom is to come here this afternoon, and I 
was writing a letter to be given him before 
he sees Lilith. It is easier to write than to 
speak with decision. As you say, we must 
dismiss him, and finally." He took up his 
pen and added a few lines to the letter which 
lay on his desk ready addressed. '' But I 
must recopy it," he said. '' I believe, in my 
anxiety to be decided, I have expressed my- 
self with too great severity. I really don't 
wish, Edward, needlessly to offend him." 

" But, Gilbert, for Heaven's sake do offend 
him ! This kindness is entirely misplaced. 


Think what he Is. A fellow carrying on 
with two women at once! I told you of 
the scene I witnessed between him and the 
Kidsons ? marriaQ^e with Miss Kidson 
openly discussed ! He's an adventurer, an 
impostor, out of a nest of impostors. Let 
me read your letter. Why, it is admirable. 
It is by far the safest plan to let the fellow 
know — — " 

He was interrupted. A hasty summons 
had come to Mr. Turold to attend his father, 
who had been seized by a fit ; and he hurried 
away, asking Edward to seal the letter and 
ensure its delivery. Edward took a pen, 
underlined one or two words, and even altered 
a few ; then committed the letter to Yates 
and left the house. 

'* I won't show in the business," he said, 
'' but after that letter we shall certainly have 
done with Mr. Tom Palmer." 


OM, after his many delays, arrived at 
last, and was met by Yates with the 
letter. He read it in the hall, with oratherlnof 
astonishment and indignation. There was 
that in it which seemed to him not merely 
cruel but insolent and insolence from Gilbert 
Turold was totally unexpected. 

For a moment Tom stood uncertain what 
to do. Then he found Lilith herself by his 
side. For the first time he neither kissed 
nor greeted her, he was too angry. 

*' Oh, Tom, how late you are ! " murmured 
Lilith, concealing her disappointment under 
pretended petulance ; " and I've been staying 
in the whole day for you ! Come upstairs." 

" Your father says I am not to speak to 

VOL. II. 36 


you, Lilith," said Tom, looking down at her 
with lowering eyes. The resentment roused 
by the letter got into his voice and aspect, 
making Lilith 's heart beat with anxiety. " I 
don't choose to obey him," continued Tom ; 
" I have a right to bid you good-bye." 

" Good-bye ? " repeated Lilith, vaguely, as 
if unable to understand the words. But his 
tone hurt her, and she drew herself up straight 
and made no further reply. 

Tom folded his arms and stood watching 
her with gleams of wrath in his eyes. 

'' Lilith, Mr. Turold says I have deceived 
you. Well, hear the truth now. I am come 
here to-day to announce it. My father is 
bankrupt and I am penniless. In addition, 
there will probably be law proceedings of 
a very painful nature. I shall have to 
work for the rest of my life, not for wealth 
but for a subsistence, and I shall have to 
support my father and mother, for he is blind 
and old and will never work again. You 
and I cannot marry, Lilith. We must part." 


" Tom, I said 1 would live with you in a 
garret ! " said Lilith, quivering. 

" I have not the garret to offer you. I 
have nothing." 

"Tom, you speak as if you didn't care!^' 
murmured the girl. 

"Don't I care.-^" said Tom, smiling bitterly. 

Lilith flung herself on the straight-backed 
settle near the fireplace and buried her face 
in the embroidered cushion. 

" They have all been telling me," she 
sobbed, "again and again, that you went 
away because you were tired of me. Some- 
times I thought it was true. You've never 
been a bit the same since you came back, 
Tom. How am I to know if people speak 
the truth or not } How can I be sure I am 
not silly in thinking you can love more truly 
than other men } " 

'' I was afraid of this, Lilith," said Tom ; 
'' some one has come between us. Well, it's 
all for the best, I suppose. Let us part." 

" Oh no, Tom ! " cried the girl, wildly, 


'* you don't unde^^stand. You think it's 
because of the money. I would never give 
you up for that ! never ! Oh, Tom, do you 
love me ? " 

" I shall love you all my life, Lilith," said 
Tom, with white lips. 

They were interrupted, in their turn, by 
Caxton, who hurried in, looking scared. 

'* Miss, your grandpa is asking for you. 
He's been took very bad indeed, miss. He 
wants you too, sir." 

The girl sat up to listen to this, and to try 
and understand what it all meant. 

'' Lilith," said Tom, '' I don't feel fit to see 
Mr. Turold, and your father will not wish it. 
I will bid you good night." 

" Beg pardon, sir," said Caxton, " Mr. Gil- 
bert Turold is upstairs with my master. 
He's been took very ill indeed, sir, and 
seems as if something had excited him. 
He's sent for Mr. Wilkinson, and says he's 
going to alter his will ! " ended the valet, 
betrayed into speech by curiosity. 


Lilith jumped up. 

*' Oh, come, Tom ! Do come ! " she cried. 
*' Grandpapa has some plan for us, I am sure 
of It." 

'' No, LiHth. He wishes to tell us all Is 
ended. I will come. If you wish It, but I 
don't see the use." 

'' I do wish It," said Llllth. '' Come ! " 

Holding his hand she led him quickly 
along the gallery and up the stair to her 
grandfather's apartments. Outside the heavy 
door, she paused and looked up at her lover, 
her face pale with distress. The momentary 
exhilaration was over. 

'' I wish I could be quite sure, Tom, that 
you have not changed to me," she mur- 

*' Is there much use in going into it now ?" 
said Tom, wearily. " You pain me very much, 
Lilith. Have I ever doubted your love to 

They entered the sick-room. 

The old man lay on the sofa, his head 


propped, his legs and arms stretched out 
motionless, great purple circles round his 
eyes and lips. Lilith thought he was dead, 
till a long, labouring sigh shook his withered 
frame and distended his nostrils. Beside 
him stood his son, erect, and not, it seemed, 
particularly affected or particularly tender. 
The granddaughter advanced on tiptoe and 
Tom remained at the door, his back to it, 
his arms folded, and stormy signs on his 
usually pleasant face. Gilbert Turold did 
not give him a glance ; any favour he had 
retained for Tom had been effectually ex- 
tinguished now by his father's extraordinary 

*' Is Wilkinson come ? " asked the old man, 
without moving. 

" He cannot be here, sir, for at least 
another half-hour," replied the son. 

*' / am here, grandpapa dear," said Lilith's 
coaxing voice, but provoked no response. 

There was a short silence, broken by the 
servant's attempted return with a foot- 


warmer, which Tom took from him after a 
short, low-toned altercation. 

'' Do you wish Caxton to be here or 
not ? " asked Tom, coldly, stopping the in- 
truder's advance. 

Gilbert Turold had already sent Caxton 
away three times, and he turned round 
angrily ; but before he could speak the old 
man had started to a sitting posture, his 
dying eyes awakened, and still keenly" in- 

" Is that the boy's voice ? Come here at 
once ! Come here," he said imperiously. 

Tom advanced, much against his wish, 
and Gilbert shut the door in Caxton's face 
and locked it. 

" Has Palmer given you the papers ? " 
asked the dying man, snatching at Tom's arm 
with the clutch of one seizing his last hope. 

'' What papers, sir ? Yes, I believe my 
father did hand me some papers." He 
drew them from his pocket. '* Are these 
they ? I have not looked at them." 


'* Then put them in the fire." 

So imperious was his tone that Tom was 
on the point of automatically obeying. He 
drew back, however. Gilbert impetuously 
put out his hand to take the documents, but 
the old man started up again, quivering all 
over and still grasping Tom's arm. 

" Don't give them to Gilbert," he said. 
*' Put them in the fire, boy, as I bid you." 

*' Are they, yours, sir, or my father's ? " 
asked Tom, and began slowly to unfasten 
the string. 

" Don't — don't open them ! " roared the 
old man, so loud that Lilith seized her 
father's arm in terror. *' Here, give them 
to me." 

Tom replaced the papers in his pocket 
and drew back. 

'' I remember now," he explained ; " father 
said they belonged to me. I will look them 
over and speak to you again." 

The old man relaxed his grasp and sank 
back on his pillows, tears of weakness and 


defeat raining piteously from his eyes. He 
called Tom to him again. 

*' I'll make it up to you," he said feebly. 
" I have sent for Wilkinson. I'll alter my 
will, and leave you enough to marr}* the 
girl. You'll get everything with her in the 

" I don't understand you," said Tom. 

"Sir. til is is unbearable ! '' interposed 
Gilbert ^reatlv incensed. -Mr. Palmer 
need not expect to get everything, nor 
Lilith either. I must inform you that I am 
myself engaged to be married ; and my wife 
— at present Mrs. Gascoigne — I say my wife 
shall give me a son. This pittance you are 
to marr}' on, Mr. Palmer, will be all you 
shall have out of Turold Royal." 

"And now,' said Tom, still sore after the 
insulting letter. • you think you have proved 
me equally mercenar)- whether I marr)- your 
daughter or whether I do not." 

•* Papa ! " exclaimed Lilith, in reproachful 
astonishment, "* You are oroinQ^ to marrs" .^ 


and Emily Gascoigne, who Is only a girl, and 
who has not been a widow for even a year ! " 
They had withdrawn their attention from 
the old man, and now were startled by a 
long, gasping moan, followed by another 
short, sharp convulsion, which left him stiller 
and more death-like in appearance than 
before. He was still conscious, however ; 
painfully so. His restless eye moved from 
his son to Tom Palmer and back again. 
Then he spoke with extraordinary energy 
and composure. 

"It is time for me to die when you can 
all thwart me as if I were a fool. It is you, 
Gilbert, who are the fool, and you shall 
know it to-morrow, you and your Gas- 

He quite easily raised his hand, which 
they had thought eternally stiffened, and 
rubbed his forehead. 

'' I hear Caxton at the door," he said, 
*' and Wilkinson is with him. Admit them." 

'* You feel better, dearest grandpapa ? " 


said Lllith, creeping to his side and kissing 
his hand. 

"Yes, my dear, I feel extremely well at 
this moment. It is a sign of approaching 
dissolution, ' which their keepers call a light- 
ning before death,' eh ? Oh, I can quote. 
I was fond of the poets once. Take your 
father away, Lilith ; and you, Wilkinson, 
come here." 

His head rolled back suddenly, and again 
he made an ineffectual clutch at Tom 

'* Don't let him leave the house. Let 
him stay within call, Gilbert ! " he gasped, 
his lips twitching convulsively. 


ILBERT TUROLD, now thoroughly 
exasperated, drove Tom before him 
to the Hbrary, saying nothing till he had 
shut the door. 

*' Listen to me," he began, in a quick, 
harsh tone, quite unlike his usual one, 
"whatever alteration my father makes in 
his will, I shall dispute it in a court of 
justice. He is imbecile, and you have used 
improper influence " 

'' I have not," said Tom, looking the 
angry man straight in the eyes. 

*' You contradict me, sir ? " cried Mr. 

*' Yes. I won't endure any further slanders 
and insults. Here is your letter," said Tom, 


tossing it scornfully to him. " Take it back 
before I read it again, or I shall quarrel 
with Lilith's father — here, in this house. 
I will not submit to being called a cheat and 
a liar." 

Mr. Turold had an uncomfortable feeling 
that the letter had been too strong, and he 
put it in his pocket. Still he showed fight. 

'' To mention only one thing," he said, 
" you have been openly discussing marriage 
with that man Kidson's daughter. Perhaps 
you are not aware that Edward Vane was 
present, at least on one occasion, and that he 
is as jealous for Miss Turold as if he was 
her brother ? I have no objection to your 
marrying the young woman : it would be a 
very prudent proceeding ; but you must take 
yourself off out of my house." 

" I have had nothing to do with Miss 
Kidson," said Tom. *' If Mr. Vane has told 
you I have, he has lied." 

'' Oh, if you put your word against 
Edward Vane's, you must expect me to take 


his. I have every reason for trusting him ; 
no reason that I know of for trusting you. 
Your engagement to my daughter is ended. 
I request you to leave my house." 

" No, sir. It was Mr. Turold's order that 
I should remain." 

Tom changed his manner a little. 

*' Had I not better," he said, '' examine 
these papers in case he alludes to them 
again ? I have no idea what they can 

Mr. Turold looked at him for a moment 
with wrathful eyes, then marched out, and 
left the intruder in possession of the library. 
The mysterious papers might be of some 
consequence ; and he wanted to read over 
his own letter to Tom. In the hall, he took 
it from his pocket and his ears grew rather 
hot as he perused it. 

" Upon my soul," he said, " I wish Edward 
had let me rewrite it. I had no notion I 
had said so much. I declare I shall have 
to apologize." 


Suddenly he stepped nearer to the lamp 
and looked at the words more narrowly. 

"Why, good God!" he exclaimed aloud, 
"■ the man is the meanest of villains ! Why, 
he's a forger. He has deliberately changed 
what I wrote. Inserted and altered words ! 
Edward's opinion of his character is amply 
justified. It's the most rascally action I 
ever even heard of ! " 

Left alone, Tom did not at once open the 
roll of papers. He walked up and down 
the room, feeling indignant and wounded 
to the quick, half inclined to leave the house 
shaking off its dust from his feet. Mr. 
Turold thought him a liar, and Lilith, his 
own sweet Lilith, had doubted his love. 
What place was left for him for a single 
moment at Turold Royal? At last, how- 
ever, he grew a little calmer, and sat down 
to the manuscripts, glancing listlessly at the 
first he opened. 

" Stephen Turold ? They are Turold 
documents then ? Why have they been 


given to me ? I wonder if father hasn't 
blundered and handed me the wrong 
ones r 

Still listless, Tom turned over the papers 
one by one, reading a word or two here and 
there. Suddenly his interest took fire, and 
a hot flush mounted on his cheek. 

" My God ! " he exclaimed, dropping the 
paper from his hand. 

Then he sat down by the table, burying 
his head in his hands, and read every word 
in each of the documents ; not once or twice, 
but again, and again, and again. 

Tom was still absorbed in his task when 
the door opened timidly, and Lilith looked 
in. He did not raise his head, and the 
girl, who had been crying, hesitated before 

" You are here still, Tom ? Are you very 
busy ? May I sit with you, Tom dear ? " 

He rose absently to get her a chair ; then 
stood looking at her. 

"■ I — I am not ready to finish our talk 


yet, Lilith," he said, with a vague desire to 
stave off something, he hardly knew what. 

Without thinking, Lilith stooped to pick 
up one of the papers which had fallen, but 
Tom hastily snatched it up and pushed it 
and the rest away from her. Lilith, a little 
offended, moved towards the fireplace, and, 
leaning against the high mantelpiece, stood 
there like a drooping flower. 

'' I have learned something," began Tom, 
awkwardly, ''which may make a great dif- 
ference — change everything." 

" So have I learned something," sighed 
the girl. 

" You ? Why should you have been told 
anything about it ? " 

" Oh, Tom, do say it isn't true ! " mur- 
mured poor Lilith. 

" It seems as if anything might be true," 
said Tom, bitterly. 

" I can't believe it, Tom. It breaks my 

" Then I think, I hope, we aren't talking 

VOL. II. 37 


of the same thing. It is important. Good 
heavens ! yes. But your heart isn't made 
of very strong stuff if this kind of business 
could break it. What have you been told, 
Lilith '^. " asked Tom, still watching her 
sadly. His tone sounded cold and bitter 
to the sorrowing girl. 

''Things about you, Tom. They can't 
be true. I said they couldn't be true. If 
you had seen some one else, Tom, if you 
did want to marry some one else — it's quite 
likely, I know ; there are many people nicer 
than I, I know that. But oh ! you would 
have come and told me, wouldn't you ? 
You would never behind my back " 

"■ Go on," said Tom, his pale face a shade 
paler as he sat down on the edge of the 
table, his arms folded. ** This is what you 
have been told, then ? You defended me, 
did you ? Yet I think you half believe it, 

'' Oh, Tom, do you love me, or do you 


'' If you do not believe me when I say 
Yes, what more can I uro^e ? " 

" But you don't act as if you loved me !" 
cried Lilith. '' You are quite different from 
what you were. You are wrapped up in 
other things ; you keep secrets from me. 
You don't take me in your arms and kiss 
me, as you did." 

" If I am not to marry you, Lilith, I 
daren't kiss you as I did. Can't you under- 
stand that?" 

'' Then you don't want to marry me, 
Tom ?" 

'* It is not a question whether I want to 
marry you, but whether I can marry you." 

*' Grandpapa said he would help us." 

'' I would rather break stones in the road 
than accept that kind of help." 

'' Oh, Tom ! why } " 

'' Why ? I should have thought you 
would see, Lilith. I am not a pauper, to 
live on other people, tlowever, all that is 
changed ; we needn't go into it." 


He rolled up the papers and put them 
away, taking a step or two up and down the 
room. ^ 

" That was no bond fide kindness on your 
grandfather's part, Lilith," he said angrily ; 
'' it was part of a plot. Whatever happens, 
you may be quite sure I will not be bribed 
or bought off." 

'' Bribed ? Bought off ? " repeated Lilith, 
drearily ; '' I don't understand, quite. Then 
you think we must really give it up ? Is 
it because of the money, Tom ? Is that 
all ? " 

'' No, it isn't all ! " cried Tom ; '' I would 
to God it were all ! Things seemed difficult 
enough this morning ; they are a hundred 
times more difficult now." 

'' Papa told me," said Lilith, sitting down 
and lifting Tamburlaine's forepaws on to 
her lap, so that she could bend over his 
smooth head and seem to be whispering to 
him, '' that I was standing in your way now ; 
that without me, you could marry a rich 


woman — Grace Kidson — and pay your 
father's debts." 

" My father's debts ! Yes. Good God, 
Lillth, if you knew all that was involved ! 
I may have to do it," cried Tom. 

The girl wept. 

" Very well, Tom. Indeed, I don't want 
to stand in your way. Indeed, indeed, I 
don't." Then jealousy overpowered this 
magnanimity. ''You shouldn't have made 
love to her behind my back, Tom, and 
while you were still engaged to me ! " 

Tom's eye flashed. 

" Stand up, Lilith, and answer me. Who 
told you I had done so '^. " 

She did not move or turn round, and Tom 
came to her side angrily. 

" Answer me, Lilith." 

" Papa has been telling me now." 

''It is intolerable that your father should 
have done so, after I had denied it to 

" He told me you denied it ; but he said 


Edward had told him, and that he had been 
present when you did it." 

" Then I shall horsewhip Edward^ane. 
He has lied. I have been guilty of no 
treachery, Lilith ; not for a moment." 

*' Of course I believe you, Tom," said 
Lilith, gently, but with dignity. 

'' How long will you believe me ?" cried 
Tom. " Till Edward Vane speaks to you 
next ? " His tone, and still more his aspect, 
frightened Lilith. 

'' You don't speak to me kindly , Tom," 
murmured the poor girl, yearning for the 
familiar, caressing tenderness. 

To the young man, whose heart was on 
fire, torn and lacerated by conflicting emo- 
tions ; who was furious with fate and wroth 
with those he loved, hopelessly perplexed 
by the condition of affairs, and dreading 
inevitable calamity, and at his hands, for 
his friends ; Lilith's words sounded childish, 
and he stamped his foot impatiently and 
turned away. 


The door opened, and Mr. Wilkinson, the 
lawyer, glided in, his countenance expressing 
preternatural solemnity. He advanced to 
the hearthrug between the two young 
people, but without taking any notice of 
the Princess Royal. 

'* I have come to inform you, sir, that 
Mr. Turold is dead. I have a message to 
you also from Mr. Gilbert. In consequence, 
no doubt, of some misunderstanding, he is 
anxious that you should not wait to see 
him again ; should, as he expressed it, ' quit 
the house ' without further delay. I believe, 
sir, you have the right to consult your own 
wishes, notwithstanding that message." 

Tom flushed, and made no reply. 

" Tom,'^ broke in Lilith, with agitation, 
" there is no use in annoying papa, and 
everything is upset and horrid to-day. 
Come back early to-morrow, please Tom. 
Oh, please do ! Won't you ? " 

" My dear young lady " began the 

lawyer, pityingly. 


But Tom checked him. 

"Tray say nothing to Miss Turold yet, 
nor to any one. I must get more inFor- 
mation — make inquiries • " 

*' Of course. But I believe there is no 
doubt. Will you permit me to look at those 
papers ? " 

Tom handed them to him in silence. 

" You are aware, sir, of the importance 
of these documents," said Mr. Wilkinson, 
when he returned them. '' As two of the 
principal witnesses are dead, your case could 
hardly be proved without them. May I ask 
what you propose to do ? " 

'* Nothing for a day or two," answered 

'* The matter will be known when the 
will is read ; Mr. Turold has added a state- 
ment. His son's announcement of his pro- 
posed marriage had put the old man into a 
frenzy. For the last year his course has 
been a senile, a most mistaken one, but he 
had no wish to do positive injustice." 


" Perhaps not," said Tom, coldly. 

*' I think, if you will allow me to advise, 
it will be hardly fair to let the news come 
as a shock to Mr. Gilbert. Will you not 
authorize me to inform him at once ? " 

'' Very well," said Tom, his eye resting on 
Lilith ; " Miss Turold, too, if she wishes it." 
Then he went to her side, penitent for his 
harshness. '' Good-bye, dearest. I must get 
home now." 

In the presence of the stranger their fare- 
well could be but restrained. 

''Oh, Tom, you will see me again?" 
whispered Lilith, holding his hand. 

*' Yes ! yes ! " said Tom, with warmth ; '' of 
course we must see each other again ! " 

Lilith could have cried for joy at the 
kinder tone. *' He does love me !" she said 
to herself, *' it is only the money ! " 

Tom made his way out of the house, 
passing Mr. Turold in the hall, but without 
remark. It was nine o'clock, and he guessed 
how anxiously he was expected at Silcote 


Dene. Still he did not go there at once. 
He wandered away through the park and 
the woods, losing himself in the thicKets 
and frightening the deer. The evening was 
wild and disagreeable, with fitful moonlight 
and deep shadows and glooms. Across the 
sky a rack of clouds was fleeting madly, 
and an occasional star sent its cold beams 
through the shifting veil. The trees rocked 
and sighed in the blast which was tearing 
away their last poor leaves. No one else 
was about, and Tom threw himself on the 
ground in the darkness, and covered his face 
with his hands and tried to think. '' If 
Lilith trusted me, I could bear anything," 
he said to himself; "but she does not trust 
me. Oh, my darling, my darling ! what must 
I do.^" 

After a time the wind fell a little, and a 
heavy soaking rain came on. Yet he sat 
there on the wet leaves, his eyes absently 
fixed on the distant, scarcely visible sward 
before the Court and the low gabled and 


mullioned house, where Llllth was at this 
moment, he hoped, sleeping peacefully after 
the sorrows of the day. *' If father had told 
me this a year ago," he said, '' I should have 
been with her now." With that thought of 
the fair, sleeping Lilith as he might have 
seen her, trustful, sympathetic, and his very 
own, a sting of self-pity threatened to dis- 
able him ; and he rose impatiently and waked 
himself up from what had become mere 

He had not been told the truth a year 
ago. Lilith was not his, and did not under- 
stand him ; and four courses were open to 
him now, and four only, and not one of the 
four could be adopted without grief, disap- 
pointment, and possible shame falling on the 
innocent head of some person who was very 
dear to him. Which course was he to 
choose ? 

Depressed, miserable, enervated ; soaked 
by the rain, and shivering with cold, it was 
impossible to come to a decision to-night. 


Suffering for his mere self seemed little ; but 
deliberately with his own hand to take a 
knife and plunge it into the breast of one 
he loved ! — for to-night at least he wanted 
the courage. " If Lilith trusted me," he 
repeated, '' I could bear anything. Oh, 
my darllnj, my darling ! what am I to 

But at last he did arrive at one resolution. 
Of the four courses one he was able to reject, 
and with a decision that admitted no re- 
opening with himself of that point. '' I will 
not marry Grace Kidson," he said ; '' I love 

Then he went home ; his step firmer, 
now that he had at least decided this 

It was late, and the household had gone 
to bed ; but he found supper laid out for him 
in the dining-room, and when he was creep- 
ing on tiptoe to his own apartments, a voice 
called him from Mr. Palmer's dressing-room, 
and he went in, to find the blind man and his 


wife with wan faces waiting hand-in-hand by 
the dying fire for his coming. 

They had sat up for him, though they 
told each other he would stay at Turold 
Royal ; and they had heard the door, almost 
the clatter of his fork in the dining-room, 
and then his cautious tread on the thick pile 
of the stair-carpet. 

At sight of him poor weary Mrs. Palmer, 
who had perhaps more sense of guilt in the 
matter than had her more fantastically 
minded husband, broke down completely, 
and began to cry. His right hand in hers, 
Tom knelt by the blind man's side, and felt 
the shaking fingers, vainly trying to do duty 
for eyes, pass over his brow. There was 
a short silence, for the young man was too 
much moved to attempt a word. 

*' Tom, my dear, dear boy, what have you 
to say to me ? God knows that from begin- 
ning to end I would not have harmed a hair 
of your head. Speak to me, my dear, dear 



'' Father " began Tom ; but his voice 

failed him and he could get no further. 
The one word was enough. The blind, 
dishonoured man, the weeping woman, had 
still their son. 


OU have sent that young fellow off 
for me ? " said Gilbert Turold. 
'* Thank you, Mr. Wilkinson. I did not 
feel equal to meeting him again. I have 
been greatly deceived in that young man. 
He has behaved very badly, and my 
daughter has had a very narrow escape. 
Well, I hope my poor father did not attempt 
any insane alteration of his will ? If there is 
anything of the kind, I intend to dispute it." 

" Mr. Turold had no time to alter any- 
thing. There is, as you have been told, 
practically no provision for any one but the 
heir-at-law. I wish he had had time to 
make some alteration." 

" I don't understand you, Mr. Wilkinson. 


Do you imagine that my daughter's interests 
are not safe in my hands ? It is the greatest 
possible relief to me to learn he did 

** I did not say that. Mr. Turold made 
an important statement, which is appended 
to his will. I cannot encourage you to hope 
for any success in challenging it, sir." 

Mr. Turold made up the fire noisily into 
a huge furnace, and drank an enormous 
glass of cold water. He looked upset by 
the events of the day, and Mr. Wilkinson, 
who was never upset by anything, felt sorry 
for him. 

'*Well, what's it about?" asked Gilbert 
Turold, irritably. 

"Your brother Stephen died when you 
were a young lad just going to the univer- 
sity ? " began the lawyer. 

'' My brother Stephen was not one of our 
family ornaments, Mr. Wilkinson. Is it 
necessary to allude to him now ? " 

** Did you ever hear that he had married.'^" 


*' No ; he died — killed himself, I believe — 

'' I beg your pardon, Mr. Turold. The 
fact was reported, vaguely, to your father 
and to your eldest brother ; and was known 
to one or two persons as an indisputable fact." 

*' Good heavens ! To some low, designing 
woman, I suppose ? A detestable thing to 
occur in a family like ours ! " 

He remembered Edward Vane*s history 
with keen annoyance ; and was silent for a 
minute, making another needless attack on 
the fire. 

"There are certainly circumstances in 
which one must pardon, or rather forget, a 
mesalliance. It generally brings its own 
punishment, and always causes trouble, direct 
or indirect ; but I don't suppose a childless 
marriage was the most discreditable incident 
in my brother's career, and it seems rather 
late in the day to blame him for it now. 
Let it be. If the wretched widow has turned 
up, we will make a suitable provision for her, 

VOL. II. 38 


and induce her to persevere in her very 
prudent reticence." 

*' The woman died before her husband. 
Your father had not then convinced himself 
that she was your brother s legal wife, and 
he believed her, as you say, childless. A 
year ago it came to his knowledge that he 
had made two mistakes: Stephen was her 
husband ; and they left a son." 

Mr. Turold, who for several minutes had 
been feeling very uncomfortable, started 
from his chair with blanched countenance. 

" A son ! But not alive now ? " 

"Alive now. A very fine, handsome 
young man." 

" God in heaven ! Come now, Wilkinson, 
I don't believe it. It's absurd ; incredible 
on the face of it. It's a conspiracy." 

Mr. Wilkinson was silent. 

'' It's impossible," repeated Mr. Turold ; 
*' it's a conspiracy." 

** I fear your position is serious, sir," said 
the lawyer. 


'' It would be so, certainly, if the thing 
were credible. But they won't find me so 
easy to convince as the old man with his 
shaken wits. It's a conspiracy. Where is 
this boy to be found ? Who is he ? A 
crossing-sweeper .^ " 

" I expected you to guess, Mr. Turold. 
You know him very well ; fortunately. It 
is young Mr. Palmer." 

''God in heaven!" ejaculated Mr. Turold, 
again. " But how can it be ? It won't hold 
water for a moment ! Why, we know all 
about him. He's provided with parents 
already, and of no very respectable sort 
either ! Ifs absolute nonsense." 

" Mrs. Stephen Turold was Mr. Palmer's 
sister. He adopted the boy. I'm afraid the 
facts are indisputable.'* 

Mr. Turold turned his back on the 
lawyer and maintained a long silence ; Wil- 
kinson could hear his teeth chattering. At 
last he faced round again, and seemed 


*' If you had told me this a year ago," he 
said, ''you might have taken me in. The 
young man, the whole family were plausible, 
but by this time their character has happily 
been exposed. They are mere adventurers 
of the worst type : swindlers. The old man 
is bankrupt, and has been robbing people 
right and left. He'll be in prison before a 
week's out. As to the young fellow, he 
has treated my daughter abominably, and 
this very day I have myself caught him 
actually altering words to suit his book in 
a letter which I had written. It's a minor 
matter, but it shows the sort of unscrupulous 
person we have to deal with. No, no ; it's a 
conspiracy. I always wondered what brought 
them here. I see now : it was with the 
intention of hatching this plot. Possibly he 
is Stephen's son. I doubt it ; but, at any 
rate, he isn't his legitimate son. If he 
were, we should have heard of him before. 
And, instead of coming in at the backdoor 
and trying to steal my daughter, he would 


have appeared in his own person and 
boldly claimed his place as the nearest 

" He does so now." 

" Oh, nonsense ! The whole thing is a 
palpable fraud. The course has been too 
crooked. The man is a scoundrel, and 
luckily I have found it out in time. For 
my part, I can think of nothing but my poor 
girl's providential escape. Now, do you 
believe for a minute, Wilkinson, that he 
would have saddled himself with her, if he 
had not felt his prospect of otherwise securing 
the place extremely shaky ? " 

"Possibly an inclination " began the 

prim old bachelor ; but the angry man inter- 
rupted : 

" Oh, pooh ! We have quite ceased to 
believe he cares about her. If he's in love 
at all, it's with that Miss Kidson. There's 
an unconcealed connection between the two. 
My poor dear child ! What an escape it is 
for her, to be sure ! " 


Mr. Wilkinson rose. 

"1 fancy, sir, when you have looked into 
the matter you will modify some of these 
views ; you have not seen the young man's 
documents. I trust he is not what you 
think him. Good night, Mr. Turold." 

'* Good night," said Gilbert, ungraciously. 

He heard the door shut with relief, and 
then sat down to face the matter without 
spectator or interruption. It must be con- 
fessed that the moment there was no one 
by with an opinion to be combated, the 
thing looked more possible. He knew very 
well that Mr. Wilkinson was no fool and 
no enemy ; and the fact that he seemed 
convinced was not to be disregarded. 
Documents ! That word had an ugly sound. 
And the young man's appearance, so unlike 
old Palmer's, must mean something. 

'' Not that I intend to believe it unless I 
am forced to," said Gilbert Turold to him- 
self; ''and, in any case, it doesn't alter the 
fellow's character. If he knew it for a 


fact all along, then he is more deceitful and 
crooked than even Edward suspected ; if 
he did not, his conduct in the character of 
Palmer's son remains what it was. Whether 
this is a conspiracy or whether it is not, he 
is a low-born, ill-bred, cunning and treacher- 
ous liar. I don't care whether he is Palmer s 
son, or Stephen's. There was nothing to 
choose between Stephen and this Palmer. 
Stephen was a man it freezes my blood to 
think of. I'd no more have associated, or 
have let my daughter associate, with him 
or his family than I would with any other 
scoundrel in prison or out. If the man is 
proved to be Stephen's son, I cut his acquaint- 
ance, that's all, as I should have cut Stephen's. 
It's outrageous, simply outrageous, to think 
of Turold Royal falling into the hands of 
a man of that parentage and of that cha- 
racter. I shall emigrate and take Lilith 
with me. But first I shall dispute it. I 
shall certainly dispute it. Stephen's son ! 
I wonder if it can possibly be true ? " 


So his thoughts rambled as he sat with 
his considering cap on and exasperation 
triumphant in his breast. At last the great 
fire he had made died down into mere grey 
ashes, and he snatched up a candle and went 
to bed. 

*' There's one fortunate thing," he said. 
** Mr. Tom Palmer and I had reached a 
quarrel before this came out. I had written 
that severe letter — not one whit too severe 
either — and he had tampered with it. He 
can't pretend to be a gentleman after that ; 
and if he asks for my hand as my nephew, 
IVe a better ground for refusing it than 
merely because he is Stephen's son." 

Passing his daughter's door, he paused for 
a moment, hearing a stifled sob. " It's very 
odd," he said to himself, still fuming, *' how 
a death makes women cry. What reason 
had Lilith to care much about her grand- 
father } " Then he rubbed his forehead im- 
patiently. '' My poor little princess ! This 
is a different future for her than what we 


had imagined. So she's to be robbed of 
all her treasures, is she ? " 

After which came the inevitable reflection 
that, perhaps, after all, it was a pity her 
engagement to Tom was broken off. But 
he scorned to entertain that thought for 
more than a moment. " No, no," he said ; 
'' at any rate, we won't be mercenary. Lilith 
shall not marry a scoundrel, or the son of 
a scoundrel, even to retain her place at 
Turold Royal. I will write to Edward. He 
shall marry her, and she shall take his name. 
Her own has lost all interest. I declare I'd 
give it up myself." 

By this time he was walking up and 
down in his bedroom, his candle still in his 
hand, and the wax falling about over his 
clothes. Suddenly he stopped short, with 
a sensation of giddiness and of falling over 
a precipice and being dashed to atoms. 

'' Good heavens ! " he exclaimed, " I had 
forgotten Emily Gascoigne. What, in the 
devil's name, am I to do about her ? " 


pSHE next day passed, and no one made 
^^*^ any sign. 

Tom had awakened in the morning and 
found himself, so to speak, ''somebody else." 
No doubt he, like many another, had some- 
times lazily wished he might have that queer 
experience. Now that it was actually his, 
there was nothing very agreeable about it. 
On the whole, what surprised him most was 
that he was so little sensible of any differ- 
ence. He felt no closer to Lilith Turold, 
the Princess ; no farther from John Palmer, 
the seller of paraffin. 

If he were inclined to blame Mr. Palmer's 
long silence — for Tom was himself disposed 
to straightforwardness — he none the less 


thoroughly understood the man's nature, and 
blamed him less than he would have blamed 
any one else. He knew perfectly that the 
mistaken course had been begun and perse- 
vered in out of pure affection, and with a 
view to the entire welfare of the adopted 
son ; not for worlds would Tom have ex- 
pressed reproach ; not for a moment did he 
think of renouncing his position as John 
Palmer's son. 

" I want no other father," he said simply, 
his hand on the blind man's arm ; '' certainly 
not Stephen Turold. A fact is a fact, no 
doubt ; but this is a disagreeable one, and 
I should like to forget it. Another and a 
pleasanter fact is that you have been a father 
to me, and I mean to remember that. You 
have not got rid of me, dad ! " said Tom ; 
" and if you make any change in our relation, 
I shall be offended. Why didn't you tell 
me before ? You were able to reo^ard me 
as your son, though I wasn't your son ; 
couldn't I have regarded you as my father, 


though you weren't my father ? At any 
rate, I can do it now." ^_^ 

Mr. Palmer shook his head sadly. 

** No, Tom, no. So long as I thought it 
was for your good, I kept you. But it ain't 
for your good now, and you'll be right and 
natural to go. God bless you, Tom. You 
and me have been happy together, and, 
maybe, in our two hearts we'll never think 
of each other different from what we have 
done. But you must leave me now. It's 
the Lord's will ; and God bless you now and 
for ever, my dear lad, and watch between 
thee and me when we are parted the one 
from the other." 

Tom said no more ; but he went to town 
as usual on Mr. Palmer's business, and in 
the evening came straight to Silcote Dene, 
and no one observed any change in him 
from what he had been the day before. 
All the while his mind was still shaken by 
storms and contrary blasts. There were four 
possible courses : which was he to take ? 


One he had rejected almost immediately : 
false to Lilith he could not be. But neither 
could he be false to the man who had made 
him his son ; so that the second course was 
rejected also. So far he had made up his 
mind. Two courses remained, and between 
these he was still undecided. Was he to 
save his father ; or only to sink and to 
suffer with him ? He sighed ; neither course 
was likely to win him his Lilith ; it seemed 
but too probable that one of them might 
raise between her and him a for-ever im- 
passable barrier. 

Meanwhile, the church bell was tolling, 
and all the blinds at the Court were down . 
Gilbert Turold was making arrangements 
for the funeral, in everything assuming his 
anticipated position as head of the family. 
At breakfast, after a long and gloomy 
silence, he suddenly asked his daughter if 
she had ordered suitable mourning for 

'' There will be many people here," he 


said ; *' and you will take your place as 
hostess, my dear. Probably for the last 

Lilith understood this to refer to Mrs. 
Gascoigne. Not a word had the girl said 
to her father about his approaching nuptials, 
partly because of the great aversion she 
felt to the subject, more because of the 
trouble between herself and Tom, which 
had left no room for other considerations 
at all. But now on that subject she felt 
calmer ; for Tom was altogether mistaken 
in supposing that Lilith had lost faith in 
him, or was unready for the promptest 
reconciliation. No doubt Edward, and still 
more her ' father, had made an impression ; 
no girl of nineteen can wholly resist the 
influence of an upright and imperious father ; 
but it was an impression which Tom himself 
could have removed in five minutes, had 
not the circumstances of the moment (and, 
of course, certain personal limitations, such 
as are apt to defeat the best of us at 


critical moments) forced him into a reticence 
and an apparent hostility, which puzzled the 
poor child and seemed to lend but too much 
colour to the misrepresentations of his 
enemies. Still, so much more inclined was 
she to trust than to suspect her lover, that 
his parting smile, his one tender word, and 
the warmth of the grasp he had given her 
hand when he was leaving her, had undone 
the effect of his previous bitter expressions, 
angry looks, and reserved phrases. 

'' He does love me," she told herself. '' It 
is only the money ! " And this refrain her 
heart had been singing ever since ; the 
very agony of her suspicions caused reaction, 
and she felt happier in her returning con- 
fidence than she had been for days. 

So that, calmer about her own affairs, 
Lilith was now able to think a little of 
her father's. 

" I wonder," cried Lilith, '' I wonder, 
papa, that you are going to marry this 
lady just because you are angry with us. 


You do not love her, or you would be a 
littlfe kinder to Tom and me." 

Mr. Turold looked up astounded by this 
unexpected attack. 

"Love!" he said contemptuously. *'You 
children think of nothing but love ! I sin- 
cerely hope Emily Gascoigne is a little 
older in that respect than you, Lilith, or 
I shall have a handful with the two of you. 
Matters are at far too grave a crisis for 
any talk of love or nonsense of that sort." 

'' You never called love nonsense when 
mamma was alive ! " cried Lilith ; and was 
leaving him. But he called her back, with 
a heavy sigh. 

*' I have something to tell you, Lilith," 
he said ; and naturally he was a little 
annoyed with the girl and less inclined than 
usual to spare her feelings. *' If you will 
stop thinking of yourself for a few minutes, 
my dear, and try to regard the catastrophe 
which is imminent from the point of view 
of my daughter, and not from that of the 


self-willed fiancde of Mr. Thomas Palmer, 
you will have some chance of arriving at 
just conclusions as to the present unhappy 
condition of our affairs." 

Lilith sat down obediently, and did listen 
and with the greatest surprise ; but whether 
she was able to adopt the desired point 
of view is extremely doubtful. 

Gilbert's face was white as he spoke, and 
he kept his eyes on the ground. He insisted 
very much on the word '' conspiracy ; " he 
said he was going to dispute the evidence, 
and that Lilith's lover, or rather her former 
lover, was an impostor. Finally he sighed, 
and observed that, in this sort of misguided 
world, the right side generally lost, while 
impostors were very apt to triumph ; it 
would probably end in the seating of the 
impostor at Turold Royal and in his own 
emigration to New Zealand, accompanied by 
his daughter and Edward Vane. 

Lilith listened with wide eyes, and said 

VOL. II. 39 


" But if Tom isn't an impostor, papa ? 
If it is true ? " , ^^ 

'' It won't make an honest man of him, 
my dear. Nor should I in any case allow 
you to marry the son of my brother Stephen. 
Before I knew of this conspiracy, I had 
valid reasons for dismissing Mr. Palmer. 
I will not pain you by enumerating them ; 
but, since they remain unchanged, I will 
not permit your engagement to be renewed 
now, because this man has suddenly and 
improperly come into a splendid position. 
My dear, I cannot undertake to mince 
matters any longer. I wish you to marry 
your cousin Edward. I have always wished 
it, and I wish it more than ever to-day, 
when it seems only too probable that your 
father and yourself may be left at the 
mercy of, if not dependent upon, the charity 
of an unprincipled impostor. Any further 
communication, Lilith, which you may hold 
with Mr. Palmer will be, I beg you to remem- 
ber, in direct disobedience to your father." 


** I must think it over, papa," said Lilith, 
meekly ; but she knew her eyes were 
sparkHng, and she was afraid to look up 
lest he should see her smile. 

She left him and shut herself up in her 
own room for a long time, holding her 
lover's picture in her hand and wondering 
why it had never occurred to her that one 
so like her own family must be a relation. 
And, as Lilith sat there smiling, good spirits 
continued to gain upon her, and she felt 
sure everything, everything was going to 
come right after all ! If Tom had given her 
up only because he had lost his money } 
Well, any little gnawing doubts she still had 
on that subject she for the present was able 
to stifle. And if her father was embarrassed 
and annoyed and inclined to say silly things .-^ 
Well, all that would pass. And would not 
the " valid reasons " he had talked about all 
dissolve the moment Tom signed his name 
''Turold"? Surely, surely their troubles 
were ended, and all was well ! 



The only point was how to reconcile her 
father to these extraordinary changes. Some 
plan must be devised, for Lilith felt really 
very sorry for him. She cared for the 
position of proprietor-elect of Turold Royal 
quite enough herself, to appreciate her 
father's sentiments under his prospect of 
deposition. If Tom would but come and 
" make it up " and talk matters over with 
her ! The day passed and there was no 
sign of him. 

In the evening, Lilith could bear it no 
longer ; she wrapped herself up and made 
her way alone to Silcote Dene. 


l^^lHE house showed signs of spoliation: 
\ ^^\ the door-handle was unpolished ; 
the leaves unswept ; no smart footman 
answered the bell. Lilith was admitted by 
a kitchen-maid, overworked, over-anxious, 
and not at the moment over-clean, who 
stared at Miss Turold unmercifully. In 
the so-called breakfast-room, Tom was read- 
ing aloud to the blind man, the pair illumi- 
nated by the magnificent new lamp which 
somehow excited Lilith as with omen of 
rejoicing. It was some minutes before 
she got hold of her lover ; but at last they 
were established in their old place in the 
conservatory, and by themselves. Lilith 
loosened her grey cloak, showing her pretty 


neck ; and Tom had her hand nestled com- 
fortably in his, and had kissed her muck 
as usual. This was all very pleasant ; but 
most astonishing to him, with his less mobile 
nature and his more solid griefs. All day 
he had tortured himself, believing their love 
was ended ; and yet here she was, sweet 
and almost gay as of old, unreproachful and 
unsuspicious. His heart leaped up, as that 
of the * mariner worn and wan ' who sets 
foot on a flowering island in the sea of 

" Tom, I came all alone. I couldn't wait. 
Do you know what I have heard, Tom I 
Can it be true ? that you are my own 
cousin ? " 

"Hallo!" said Tom. 

*' There ! that's exactly what I said ! " cried 
Lilith. " I told papa I was sure you knew 
nothing about it." 

"Yes, Lilith, I know. But only since 

" It is true, then ? " 


*' Yes, I suppose it is true. Will you 
have me for your cousin, Lilith?" He 
spoke sadly. Would it ever be more than 
her cousin ? 

'* Oh, I think it's quite lovely ! " cried 
Lilith, jumping up in her excitement. *' I 
feel as if I must laugh, I am so pleased. To 
think that you, whom they all sniffed at — 
I beg your pardon, Tom dear, but you know 
they did sniff — that you were all the time 
my own first cousin and the head of the 
family ! It's amusing, and oh, Tom, it's 
lovely ! " 

Tom looked her up and down for a 
moment in surprise ; and his gravity again 
sent a sharp thrill of apprehension through 
her, and a sense that something was wrong 
still. What ? oh ! what ? what ? 

'* I am very glad you are pleased, my 
sweet, for I doubt any one else is," said Tom. 
" Have you considered that I am plucking 
the throne from under the Princess Royal ? 
Is that nice ? " 


Lilith's alarm showed a little In her blue 
eyes ; but she tried to speak in the same 
tone as before. 

** It wouldn't be nice if Mr. Anybody-out- 
of-the-street had done it. But you, Tom, 
that's different ; and then " 

''What then, Lilith.?" 

'' When it was mine, / meant to give it to 
you^' murmured the girl, her heart beating 
nervously. But at this Tom's lips were on 
her brow, and that was reassuring. ''Tom, 
don't — don't say any cruel things to me to- 
night ! " cried Lilith. 

The shadow in his eyes deepened, and 
it was some moments before they could go 
on, either of them. 

" Don't you like it yourself, Tom } " asked 
Lilith, wistfully. 

" If it makes you like me better — and yet, 
Lilith, why should you like me better for it ? 
Yesterday I stood before you with some 
pride, the son of respectable people ; to-day 
I'm the son of a sweep, disowned by his 


family, a curse to every one he came near. I 
was happier as I was." 

" My uncle can't have been so bad as 
that," said the girl. 

'' Because his name was Turold ? " 

Lilith made no answer ; there was irony 
in his tone which made her shrink into her- 
self. How strange that the name should 
seem so little to him ! There was a pause, 
each conscious of a lack of sympathy. 

*' We see now why poor grandpapa wanted 
us to marry," said Lilith, presently, advancing 
towards the main purpose of her visit. 

'* It was jugglery," said Tom, rousing him- 
self; "father and he shouldn't have laid 
their heads together to juggle. Yet it was 
a fine scheme enough if it had only come 

" Papa is very angry about that scheme," 
said Lilith, looking up brightly. 

" Ah ! What does your father say, Lilith ? " 

** Not much. He seems bothered ; partly 
about Mrs. Gascoio-ne, I think." 


Tom smiled too. 

*' Llllth, you are naughty about Mrs;^ 

'' But, Tom, papa was so angry with you 
for losing your money just when you were 
going to be married, and now the very same 
thing has happened to himself." 

'' I have no doubt Mr. Turold will extri- 
cate himself from the dilemma more grace- 
fully than I did. You wicked Lilith ! to 
laugh. These things turn men's hair grey, 
and women only laugh ! " 

"It is not wicked to laugh, Tom, for of 
all the unsuitable persons for papa to have 
dreamed of marrying, that silly, flirty little 
Emily Gascoigne is the worst." 

Still neither of them could keep up the 
laugh ; Tom scarcely tried, and Lilith's 
ended suddenly. 

'' Tom, do you suppose papa and I are 
quite paupers ? Mr. Wilkinson told us 
every single thing was to go to the heir ; to 
you, Tom." 



'* I feel sure that was not your — my 
grandfather's wish." 

*'We know what grandpapa wished^' 
whispered LiHth, coaxingly ; '' it's just what I 
should wish too." 

" What is that, my sweet ? " 

" Am I your sweet ? Oh, Tom, If you do 
really love me, It all seems so simple ! " 

'' Does It, my Lillth ? I wish I could 
think so." 

'' It's horrid to think of papa being kicked 
out by his own children, Tom." 

''Yes. It's dlsorustlno-." 

o o 

"But need we do It?" His arm had 
slipped round her by this time, and his lips 
were very near hers. He was not like his 
old self; but Lillth told herself, as she 
nestled close to him, that It was, neverthe- 
less, *' all right." '' Tom, you are the heir, 
and everything is really yours. But oh ! If 
papa could have It, or seem to have it so 
long as he is alive, as grandpapa wished ! If 
you liked to stay at the Court, so we could. 


all together ; or if you didn't like it, couldn't 
we have our pretty cottage in the country, 
just as we intended ? " 

" You tempt me, Lilith, with suggestions 
of an earthly paradise. But a proud man 
like your father would never agree to that 

"Wouldn't he, Tom? Yet I think it 
will break papa's heart to be turned out. 
And" — she smiled again, looking up into 
his eyes, which had gradually kindled into 
their old joy as he watched her — " what makes 
it worse, Tom, is that you, who are going to 
turn him out, have always been so naughty 
about Turold Royal ; you have pretended 
to despise it " 

" Only the cauls," interjected Tom. 

" — And it will break papa's heart to have 
to hand the place over to some one who 
doesn't value it, as he thinks ! " 

" All this Lilith said playfully, but her 
smothered apprehensions made her shy and 
a little pensive. To her lover she seemed 


sweeter than ever. How could he give 
her up ? 

'' I am not sure I shall be able to live at 
Turold Royal," said Tom, turning pale, and 
wrenching himself away from this softened 

'* Then will you let papa stay, and you 
and I have our pretty cottage ? That's why 
I came to-night, Tom — I mean, partly. I 
wanted to hear what you thought, If you had 
any Idea like that, before ever papa and 
you met." 

Tom was silent for awhile, the heavy 
clouds rolling back over his spirit, and the 
uncertainty reviving as to what he ought to 
do ; what it would be possible to do ; what 
would be fair at once to himself, and to her, 
and to his unhappy father. 

" I should have to burn the papers," he 
said abruptly, '* to abolish my claim, and 
to remain plain Tom Palmer." 

" Dear me, Tom ! I never thought of 
that ! " said Lilith, startled. " Well, that would 


be like grandpapa s plan, wouldn't it ? It 
would come to the same, wouldn't it, whether 
you or I got it all in the end ? " she 
suggested doubtfully. 

'* It mightn't come quite to the same ; if 
your father married Mrs. Gascoigne, for 

'' No, I see. But then, of course, Tom, 
papa wouldn't do that. He would know 
what you had done ! Do you think papa 
has no sense of admiration and obligation 
and gratitude ? Ah ! you misunderstand 

"Oh, Lilith! Lilith ! " said Tom, with 
emotion, *' take care what you are saying ! 
Do you like those words ? And if I too 
acknowledge claims of admiration and obliga- 
tion and gratitude, will you try and under- 
stand me ? Lilith, if I had only you to 
think of it would be very easy. I believe I 
should burn the papers. It would be far 
better that you all, who care about them, 
should keep the cauls and the rest of the 


rubbish," said Tom, the bitterness of his soul 
getting into his voice. 

*' Tom ! " exclaimed Lilith, with a flash of 

He surveyed her. 

*' If ever we quarrel, Lilith," he said 
slowly, " it will be about those wretched 

"We are not going to quarrel," replied 
the girl, straightening herself; *' but why do 
you tease me, talking in that way ? When 
it is all fun I don't mind ; but we are speak- 
ing seriously now." 

" Certainly we are speaking seriously," 
said Tom, rising and standing a little apart 
from her. " I say I should like to leave 
everything with your father, Lilith ; I know 
many things I value more than cauls, and 
locks of hair, and pictures, and old houses, 
and barren lands, whether they belong 
to Turold Royal or to any other place. 
We don't take the same view of those 
things, we never have done so ; and I 


repeat, if ever we quarrel It will be about 

'' I did not mean to annoy you, Tom," 
said Llllth, turning pale, and with her alarm 
rising so much that she hardly understood 
what he was saying, and merely thought he 
was scolding her. 

" There Is not much use In talking like 
this, Llllth. Ihave not thought the matter 
out ; and until I have arrived at some kind 
of a decision myself, there Is no gain in 
bewildering and perhaps offending you. 
What I wish you to understand Is, that I 
must help him : the man I have always 
called my father, who helped me when / 
was In need, and who now is In great trouble 
and need himself." 

"Oh yes, Tom," said Llllth, ''you must 
help him. Poor man ! without his sight and 
you not his son after all ! If you like him 
to come and live with us, Tom," said the 
girl, Impulsively, '' I will not say a single 
word against It." 


'' I may have to do more than that," said 
Tom, in a low voice, looking away from her. 
" Lilith, I should prefer saying no more to- 
night. Will you let me take you home now ?" 

It was a moment before she either replied 
or rose to go. What could he mean ? more 
than take Mr. Palmer to live in the little 
cottage paradise ? a suggestion which, even 
as she made it, had sounded to Lilith Turold 
extravagant. And there flashed into her 
memory some words of his at their last meet- 
ing, which were exactly the ones he would 
have wished her to forget : " / may have to 
mar^y Grace!' Could that be what was in 
his mind, after all ? 

All Lilith's gaiety was now hopelessly ex- 
tinguished, and Tom, putting a strong curb 
on himself because afraid of the influence of 
his love, did not offer to kiss her, nor say a 
single word to soften the effect of his stern- 
ness and reserve. They walked back to- 
gether in silence to the Court. 

Mr. Turold happened to be at the hall door 

VOL. II. 40 


when the pair returned. He took no notice 
of his daughter, reserving his displeasure, 
but he called Tom to him into the library. 

When, a few minutes later, the young man 
was withdrawing, it appeared that the hall 
was occupied by the dismal procession of 
undertakers bringing in the coffin ; and he 
was ejected by the library's second door, 
which gave a roundabout exit through long 
corridors leading to the picture - gallery. 
Tom paused for a minute to think over what 
Mr. Turold had just been saying to him. He 
sighed. Considering their difficult position, 
Gilbert and he had till quite lately been 
surprisingly friendly, and the present rupture 
distressed Tom very much. He would have 
liked to conciliate Lilith's father ; and not- 
withstanding the present ill blood he did not 
believe it would be very difficult to do so. 
Still he sighed. 

The galleries were as usual slightly illumi- 
nated by candles in flashing silver sconces, 
which only served to make the dark tapestry. 


the darker panelling, and the faded faces on 
the walls more than ever mysterious and 
ghostly. A servant was walking about on 
guard, but he knew Tom well and took no 
notice of him. 

"All these things are mine," said Tom to 
himself. '' I may as well look at them." 

Among the curiosities, the thing most 
interesting to him was an old violin, long in 
the family, and which perhaps had first 
kindled the fiddle enthusiasm in the unhappy 
Stephen. Lilith had meant her musician to 
have it from his wedding-day, and already 
he had strung and played on it frequently. 
He had been taking violin lessons mainly 
for the sake of that fine instrument, and 
though a late beginner, was making the rapid 
progress of one with genuine musical talent. 
He sent the servant for the key of the case in 
which it was kept, and played on it now ; wild 
pathetic strains at times rising into a wail not 
otherwise permitted to the nineteenth-century 
sufferer. It was a relief to him ; he had 


found a voice, a familiar, a consoler ; and he 
played on, forgetting the hour, and where he 
was, and what he was doing. The servants 
heard him, and two or three congregated in 
the distance to listen. Gilbert heard him 
and looked in for a moment with angry eyes, 
remembering Stephen who had made fiddling 
disreputable in his father's house. Lilith 
from her bedroom heard him also ; wrapped 
in her dressing-gown, she hid herself in the 
priest's hole, from which a tiny secret window 
looked down on the gallery. 

At last Tom put the instrument away 
reverently and covetously, and walked 
about looking at the other objects of the 
much-prized collection ; then he returned to 
the violin and gazed at it sadly. '' That 
shall be the first," he said to himself. " They 
all know I value that."